TVA reports Guntersville Dam dealing with heaviest water flow since 2003, 2 million gallons a second

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The Tennessee Valley Authority said Monday the water flowing through the Guntersville Dam on Christmas night and the next day was at the highest levels since 2003.

The area around the dam remains closed to boat and barge traffic and is expected to remain so, until possibly Tuesday, due to the water volume.

Flood control is among TVA’s chief duties and TVA employees have been working around the clock to manage the dams and spillways, said James Everett, manager of river forecasting operations for TVA.

The utility has been dealing with unusually heavy rainfall. A rain gauge at the Guntersville Dam recorded  nearly 9 inches of rain in 18 hours on Christmas day.

Everett said typical rainfall for the month of December is only about 4 inches.

The National Weather Service reported that between May 4-8, 2003, northeast Huntsville saw just over 10 inches of rain and it was the rainiest month in Huntsville since 1992.

The flow levels through the dam remain high. They peaked on Christmas at about 2 million gallons a second. The last time there was that much water to manage was 2003, Everett said, when the Guntersville Dam was dealing with flows of 2.1 million gallons per second.

“We’re still working through some very high flows in the system,” Everett said. “We’ve got folks that spent lot of hours here, as well as operators required to be at the dams, working the spillway gates, maintaining generating equipment, and all the other normal day to day operations the system requires.

“We take great pride in what we do, managing this system  We’re trying to do all we can to keep flood levels as low as we can., to minimize impacts to the towing industry, to people, and do the right thing.’