Tennessee Valley Authority said they averted $1.6 billion in damages in holding back February’s record breaking rainfall.
Spokesperson Melissa Lindquist said it rained an average of 11.6 inches across the valley. The previous record was 10 inches in 1939. Lindquist said February’s record is on top of the record-breaking year of rainfall in 2018, which amounted to more than 67 inches. She said TVA held back about 3.5 trillion gallons of water in February to prevent downstream impacts.
“Think of the reservoir as a bathtub. In the summertime we like the bathtub nice and full so you can be out on your boats and enjoying recreation releases,” Lindquist said. “But in the wintertime we draw them down right to the bottom. Then we have that whole tub where we can store water.”
Lindquist said storing that water provides flood protection for downstream communities. She said the reservoirs are seated well for the summer season but TVA is still managing for potential flood concerns.