The Tennessee Valley Authority, through its integrated system of dams and reservoirs, says it averted more than $1.6 billion in flood damage to communities along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in February.
TVA is using its 49 dams to store and then gradually release water after what was the largest February recorded rainfall and runoff in TVA history.
Since Feb. 1, the eastern part of the Tennessee Valley, including Knoxville and the Tri-Cities area, received approximately 10 inches of rain and the area below Chattanooga and West Tennessee averaged about 12 inches of rain.
River flows on the lower Tennessee River, particularly around Pickwick Reservoir, have been the highest since the flood of 1973.
TVA engineers use computer flood modeling, water elevation calculations and property value assessments along the Tennessee River and its tributaries to determine flood water impacts as if TVA dams didn’t exist.
"During an average year, TVA’s reservoir operations avert approximately $300 million in flood damage," officials said. TVA estimates it has averted more than $8.6 billion in flood damage since it completed its first dam, Norris Dam, in 1936.
"TVA continues to release water to recover flood storage space at most of its dams, including all nine dams on the Tennessee River. Excess water is also being released using spillway gates or sluice gates along with all available generating units, producing low-cost, reliable electricity," officials said.
Those with personal or business interests along TVA’s rivers and reservoirs are encouraged to closely monitor rapidly changing water levels, as well as National Weather Service information and local media.