GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. --Officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority are working around the clock to monitor the water levels across the Valley to help minimize flooding. They took proactive steps to prepare for Cindy in a multi-state process that started earlier this week.
Water rushed through the Guntersville Dam Thursday as rain poured down across the Valley. "Probably 350, 360,000 gallons of water every single second, going through both the turbines and the spillway gates," said James Everett, manager of River Forecasting Center Operations Support for TVA.
The Guntersville Dam is part of a multi-state, complex process, to help minimize flooding during the system. "We've actually been following this storm all week starting late Sunday, Monday, time frame," Everett said, "We're here 24 / 7 so we're running models to predict impacts of the rainfall we're anticipating."
Officials with TVA are mainly focused on reservoir management and flood control while the system makes its way through. "One thing we've done this week is lowered a lot of the main reservoirs ahead of the storm, and we started that in earnest on Monday," Everett explained.
Guntersville, Wheeler, and Wilson are some of the lakes TVA lowered to help minimize flooding.
"The big goal is to keep levels as low as possible to collect this water at our dams and then release it at a very controlled rate," Everett said.
TVA manages 49 dams. One link affects the other. As the storm moves through TVA will make changes to adjust. "It's an integrated system and the rainfall and where it hits plays a huge role in how we manage these types of storms," Everett explained.
Because TVA is moving more water through its dams, it causes faster than normal river flows and excess debris. TVA warns residents to use extra caution on the rivers and lakes.