TVA: Watauga Lake expected to rise to record levels by weekend


CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Watauga Lake is expected to rise seven to eight feet between Wednesday and Sunday, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority River Forecast Center.

According to the TVA, the projected water level is dependent on rainfall and based on the current forecast.

The TVA release said that the pool levels at Watauga Lake have the potential to reach and surpass the record level of 1967.06.

The current record was set in 2013.

Valley Forge resident Shaun Julian, who was one of many grabbing a glimpse of the lake on Wednesday, remembers the record setting year.

“The water was actually past the pay station up there and Watauga Point, which I just came from there, was totally under water,” said Julian. “My wife and I we just rode around that day the whole weekend taking pictures just because it’s something we thought we’d never see again.”

Given the recent coronavirus, Julian said he has not seen a string of events like this in his lifetime.

“It’s a wild and crazy year,” he said.

Boots Off Hostel & Campground owner Jim Gregory said his business has already been affected by COVID-19 and expects more cancellations with the potential of lake levels rising 7 to 8 feet by Sunday.

“This could be unprecedented, sometimes the culvert clogs up and if it does what it did before, I could lose a lot of money because my customers can’t reach me,” said Gregory.

The TVA also reported South Holston Lake is expected to rise three to four feet in the same time frame.

TVA spokesperson Mary Ellen Miller said she would not recommend venturing out onto the lakes through the weekend.

“There’s always the potential for flooding, this kind of rapid rain combined with the already saturated ground levels, that’s what our folks in the River Forecast Center at TVA are trying to contend with and of course, there always looking at protection of the folks down stream,” said Miller.

Photo: WJHL

Marinas, property owners and others along the lakeshores are urged to keep track of the lake levels by using the TVA Lake Info App.

You can also follow the levels online:

For Watauga Lake, click here.

For South Holston Lake, click here.

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