By Nathan Baker
A recent deluge has filled Watauga Lake to record levels and left the Tennessee Valley Authority working overtime to drain reservoirs throughout its system.
TVA spokesman Travis Brickey said Watauga Lake’s current level, 1,966.2 feet above sea level, is the highest ever recorded for the body of water, breaking the previous record by three feet.
“In the last day or so, we’ve had five or six inches of rain in the watershed, and we’re managing it the best we can,” Brickey said. “We’re progressively releasing water through the generators and have opened up low-level sluicing.”
Because of the unseasonable release of water, he said the Watauga River below the dam is running high and fast, and cautioned fishermen and others to be careful when participating in aquatic activities in the river.
“We’re strongly urging people to be safe,” he said. “They don’t really want to be out wade-fishing because of the fast-moving water, especially if we have more rain.”