January 24th , 2013 10:11 am Leave a comment

As wet weather raises lakes to brim, TVA opens drains to make room

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To say it was a little wet last week might be a bit of an understatement.

Photo by Danny DavisThe sign on the boat launch ramp at Rat Branch just peeks out over the water after last week's heavy rains and snow overflowed Watauga Lake.

Photo by Danny Davis
The sign on the boat launch ramp at Rat Branch just peeks out over the water after last week’s heavy rains and snow overflowed Watauga Lake.

Most Carter County residents probably noticed the persistent rain, as well as the heavy snowfall that forced cars off the road and caused power outages throughout the county.

A few others noticed how the winter weather was affecting the local environment. On Watauga Lake, for example, the Rat
Branch launch point was almost submerged in floodwater.

Although water levels are at unseasonably high levels, officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority said they have already started draining the lakes in anticipation of more winter storms.

TVA spokesperson Travis Brickey said that, in wintertime, the lake levels are lowered specifically to accommodate precipitation.

“This is a good example of why we lower the lakes every year, because we need the storage space,” Brickey said. “We got a tremendous amount of rain, and we had to start moving water down the Tennessee River.”

Brickey elaborated, saying that the lakes’ water storage capacities are usually tested during winter, because of the lack of plant life.

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