It’s been a rainy start for 2020 and, after a 2019 spring that broke records for rainfall and flooding, the Tennessee Valley Authority is managing the river system.

“The valley is already more than double the normal rainfall already for the calendar year (January) and we’ve been managing heavy rainfall systems over the past few weeks,” TVA spokesperson Travis Brickey said. “Currently, we’re releasing water at Cherokee using the dam’s generators and low-level sluice gates at a rate of 86,000 gallons per second. At Douglas, we’re only passing water using the dam’s generators at a rate of 111,000 gallons per second.

“To give you some idea of volume, the last dam on the Tennessee River before it empties into the Ohio River is Kentucky Dam and it’s releasing 1.5 million gallons per second.”

Brickey said during the dry period between storm systems, the TVA has been aggressively releasing water at both the tributary reservoir system and the nine dams on the main stem of the Tennessee River to recover flood storage capacity.

He said that lake levels at the tributary system lakes like Cherokee and Douglas will rise because of the amount of water flowing into them combined with the fact that the TVA uses the lakes to store water.

“Once we get into a more calm weather pattern, we will begin releasing that water to recover flood storage,” he said. “This event is only a fraction of what we dealt with back in February 2019, but we are actively managing the influx of water.”

For daily lake level updates from Cherokee and Douglas, go online to and sign up for CT Txt Alerts.