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Posted 9/1/2017

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By Lee Roberts
Nashville District Public Affairs


NASHVILLE, TENN. (Sept. 1, 2017) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Water Management Center is working this morning to manage runoff from last night’s heavy rainfall from remnants of Hurricane Harvey down the Cumberland River through Cheatham Dam in Ashland City, Tenn., and Barkley Dam in Grand Rivers, Ky.

Six to nine inches of rain fell into the uncontrolled watershed between Old Hickory Dam and Cheatham Dam, the metro Nashville area, and particularly areas to the north and west of Nashville.  Uncontrolled streams such as Mill Creek, Browns Creek, Richland Creek, Whites Creek, Harpeth River, Sycamore Creek, and the Red River all experienced significant rainfall and a corresponding increase in flow.  These creeks and rivers all drain into the Cumberland River and have either crested or will crest soon. 

The Corps of Engineers Water Management team continues to monitor conditions and manage releases throughout the Cumberland River Basin.  At this time, no significant flooding is being forecast for the Cumberland River, but water is being passed through Cheatham Dam at a rate exceeding 90,000 cubic feet per second.

“That is a lot of water being passed through the dam, and the lock is closed.  Navigation will not be allowed to pass through the navigation lock at Cheatham Dam because of the very strong currents.  The lock will reopen when the water flow sufficiently decreases in a day or two.  We will continue to monitor the flows and update the public,” said Chris Atkins, Operations Division Technical Services Branch chief.

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, praised the operators at the dams on the Cumberland River for their work overnight as the waters rose, especially at Cheatham Dam where gate changes were being made throughout the early evening and into the early morning.

“Senior Mechanic Terry Hudgins worked tirelessly to make the necessary gate changes at Cheatham as the water runoff began making its way downstream on the Cumberland River and to the dam,” Jones said.  “His efforts were exemplary and I commend everyone on the team who supported our response last night at Old Hickory, Cheatham and Barkley dams.”

The Corps is also discharging over 30,000 cfs at Old Hickory Dam and at this time expect to maintain the river stage through Nashville below the action stage of 30 feet.  The Lake Barkley pool will remain elevated for the next several days as water is moved downstream through Barkley Dam.

The National Weather Service is currently forecasting the Cumberland River at Nashville to stay below action stage of 30 feet, and they are forecasting the Cumberland River at Clarksville to crest at a stage of 45.5 feet, just below the flood stage of 46 feet.

Corps officials continue to communicate with federal, state and local partners and stakeholders, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, regarding the pool elevations at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley where lake levels have to be kept in sync for the unregulated canal that connects the two waterways.

For current conditions of the Cumberland River Basin projects go to the Nashville District web site at http://www.lrn-wc.usace.army.mil/. As necessary, news and information regarding water management and flood operations will be made available on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. For more information about the Memphis District, go to http://www.mvm.usace.army.mil/. For more information about the Louisville District, go to http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/.

Barkley Dam Cheatham Dam Cheatham Lock Corps of Engineers Cumberland River Harvey Hurricane Harvey Nashville District navigation Old Hickory Dam rain Remnants runoff USACE