Reservoir lakes in good shape to alleviate potential flooding along the Cumberland River


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making preparations for the upcoming rains expected this weekend through early next week to prevent flooding along the Cumberland River System.

The Cumberland River in downtown Nashville

That usually entails lowering the reservoir lakes that feed into the river system such as Percy Priest, Center Hill, Dale Hollow, and Lake Cumberland by opening up the flood gates at their dams.

J. Percy Priest Dam

However, right now that is not necessary. The lakes are all at winter pool and have plenty of capacity to accept the excess rainfall.

“We know in this part of the country we typically see large rainfall events in winter and spring,” explained Anthony Rodino, Chief of The Water Management Sector for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. So, we purposely lower those reservoirs during that time of the year, in order to free up capacity to accept that rainfall.”

Percy Priest Lake in Winter Pool

“Just for an example, J. Percy Priest Reservoir: At its winter pool it’s about seven feet below where it would typically be in the summertime. And so, that seven feet allows us additional storage, that volume of water from a rainfall event that we can store in the reservoir, hold back to allow the water that falls on the river to kind of run through the system and take its course. And then after the rain is over, we’ll back flow releases by increasing discharge from those reservoirs to kind of regain that storage,” said Rodino.

Along the Cumberland River itself, they’re going to lower the water levels slightly over the next several days.

It is important to note that flood control along the Cumberland River system does not alleviate flash flooding that could occur on smaller creeks and streams that could cover roadways. Remember, if you see water covering a roadway, “Turn around, don’t drown”.

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