Local EMA: Be aware of water released suddenly near Tims Ford Dam

Members of the Swift Water Team prepare to rescue a couple of gentlemen stranded on a gravel bar on the Elk River after their boats overturned and the water levels increased suddenly due to water generation at Tims Ford Dam. (Photo courtesy of Franklin County EMA)

LOCAL NEWS | It can happen faster than you realize. One minute, you’re gliding along the Elk River doing a little trout fishing and the next, you’re being pushed downstream at a dangerous pace by a current that seemed to come out of nowhere.

This is what happened yesterday along the Elk River inside Moore County when two area men found themselves in dangerous waters when the levels and speed of the current increased suddenly caused by TVA generation at the Tims Ford Dam.

Tims Ford Reservoir exists as an 11,000 acre lake. If one foot of water is being released, even at a modest pace, the flow downstream can increase by as much as 26.8 billion gallons.

“They got stuck on a gravel bar when they lost their kayak and water got up from the spill gates opening,” says Metro EMA Director Jason Deal.

After overturning and losing one boat near the Edde Bend area, the men called 9-1-1 for help. Once on site, Moore County Sheriff’s Department deputies called for a mutual aid assist from the Franklin County EMA and Rescue’s Swift Water Team. Together, they were able to not only locate and safely return the two men but also recover their boat.

TVA says it’s common this time of year to generate water at Tims Ford Dam during the week in order to lower the lake level for winter.

“TVA’s plan for lowering the reservoirs is based on rainfall records that have been kept for many years,” TVA explains on their website. “These records show that big storms that produce floods are most likely to hit the Tennessee Valley in the winter and early spring. So TVA makes sure the reservoirs are lowered to flood-control levels by January 1. Those levels are low enough to leave room in the reservoir for rainwater to flow in.”

Luckily, TVA offers both a dedicated website and an app to help outdoor enthusiasts track water levels. The TVA LakeInfo app can be downloaded on both iPhones and Android phones or you can visit the TVA website for daily lake levels reports from Tims Ford. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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