Tennessee Valley Authority officials say 2020 is now the wettest year recorded for the Tennessee Valley, with 68.27 inches of rainfall on average across the region.
The TVA in a press release this week said the previous record of 67.01 inches of rainfall, set in 2018, was broken on Monday. 2019 had 66.47 inches of rainfall. As of 2020, the TVA has now documented three years of record rainfall. TVA River Forecast Center Senior Manager James Everett in a statement said this trend may continue.
“Before 2018, the previous record had stood for 45 years. Since 2018, we’ve either set a record or come close to it every year. And the 2020 record comes with two weeks left in the calendar year, so it will likely increase,” he said. “Also, between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020, the Tennessee Valley recorded 75.74 inches of rainfall. This was the wettest Fiscal Year total ever in the 131-year period of record.”
This record high follows a below-average month for rainfall in November, which saw 2.34 inches of rainfall, only 62% of the normal monthly total.
The TVA said the corporation has averted around $1 billion in flood damages to the Tennessee Valley by using 49 dams to manage lake levels and river flows. Its reservoir management annually saves the region around $300 million. Everett said managing the Tennessee River system has been a team effort.
“The sites and crews in the field have put in countless long days maintaining and operating equipment like sluice gates, spill gates, cranes and, of course, hydroelectric generators which are all necessary to control flow through TVA reservoirs,” he said.