People swimming at Douglas Lake in Sevier County. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--The Fourth of July means fireworks and fun on the water. This year it means hot temps and very dry conditions. Tennessee Valley Authorities say be careful though because the lake levels are down due to decreased rain and runoff.
Several boaters found their way to the water even on Monday.
They're also finding lower water levels. TVA says they're at 65% and it's worse in West Tennessee. Forecast Center Operations Manager Tom Barnett says, "We started off the year really good. January and February were above normal rain fall runoff."
We dried up in March though and the hot and dry conditions impact the area lakes. Here at TVA's river forecast center in downtown Knoxville they monitor runoff levels. With little to no rain, they're seeing decreased runoff. TVA Senior Coordinator Susan Jacks says, "Most of that is being absorbed by ground because of the dry conditions or evaporating with hot temperatures we're seeing."
Jacks says lakes are still above late August levels, so they want you to get out and enjoy the lakes. Barnett says, "Exercise a little bit of caution especially if you're unfamiliar with the areas."
Barnett says watch for rock bars and stumps you wouldn't usually see. Barnett says, "Slow down and have safety equipment and enjoy the lakes. That's what they're there for." Now TVA just hoping for more rain in the next few weeks.