NASHVILLE, TENN. (Jan. 5, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Water Management staff continues to monitor stream conditions throughout the Cumberland River Basin and to manage the release of water from dams within the basin to support flood operations on the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Ben Rohrbach, Nashville District Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch chief, said the Corps is operating its dams in the Cumberland River Basin to hold back as much water as possible until the flood crest passes Cairo, Ill., on the Ohio River. These actions are being coordinated with the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is managing its dams in the Tennessee River Basin.
“The entire system is operated in a coordinated fashion. We’re limiting releases from our storage reservoirs like Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow Lake, Center Hill Lake and J. Percy Priest Lake while we are storing water in Lake Barkley to reduce water levels downstream,” Rohrbach said.
Rohrbach said he expects elevated flows in the Cumberland River as the Corps of Engineers begins to release water to lower lake levels in the coming days, as the high water levels on the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers recede.
The Lake Barkley headwater is forecast to crest near elevation 367 feet late Wednesday. Discharges at Barkley Dam are expected to gradually increase to 100,000 cubic feet per second by Friday.
Increased discharges, including spillway releases, are also anticipated at Old Hickory Dam in Old Hickory, Tenn., and Cheatham Dam in Ashland City, Tenn., later this week. This is a result of operations at reservoirs upstream, such as Center Hill Dam and Wolf Creek Dam, where discharges are expected to average around 11,000 and 23,000 cubic feet per second, respectively, for the next couple of weeks as lake levels are lowered.
“A lot of people may not know what a cubic foot of water is or what the impact of a particular lake level might be,” Rohrbach said. “What the technical jargon means in this situation is that these flows will not cause flooding, but will result in higher than normal river levels and swifter currents. The public is encouraged to be careful when on or near the waterway.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to coordinate the ongoing regional flood control operation with multiple offices with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, TVA, National Weather Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.
For more information about how the Nashville District operates the Cumberland River Reservoir System, see the Water Management Education Series at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/WaterManagement/EducationSeries.aspx.
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 (Mississippi River), go to http://www.mvm.usace.army.mil/. For more information about the Louisville District (lower Ohio River), go to http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/.