Peak water levels at Corps of Engineers projects in the Cumberland River Basin expected today and tomorrow

By San Luciano VeraMay 9, 2024

Peak water levels at Corps of Engineers projects in the Cumberland River Basin expected today and tomorrow
Old Hickory Dam operates with water releases as designed today on the Cumberland River in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District operates and maintains the project. (USACE Photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 9, 2024) – After heavy rains blanketed middle Tennessee Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has continued to monitor water levels at our Cumberland River Basin facilities. Several peak stages are expected this evening, with others to follow on Friday. USACE locks and dams throughout the basin are performing as designed and none are at risk of failure.

Though rain has stopped in many areas throughout middle Tennessee, flood warnings or advisories are still in effect for some areas. As always, the Corps of Engineers urges residents to exercise caution around bodies of water. This includes staying out of flooded areas and swift-moving, swollen rivers or creeks. Consult local emergency services for exit routes around flooded areas.

“We are working closely with our local and state partners to proactively communicate the water levels across the system and encourage the public to stay informed through local news, alerts and the National Weather Service,” said Lt. Col. Robert Green, USACE Nashville District commander. “We are managing a large amount of water through our projects designed to mitigate flooding and we strongly discourage the public from recreating in these areas at this time.”

Localized flash flooding and intense runoff can threaten roadways, structures, and ecosystems. Residents are encouraged to call 911 if there is an immediate threat to life or property.

The district manages 10 locks and dams on the Cumberland River that serve various purposes. Wolf Creek, J. Percy Priest, Dale Hollow and Center Hill dams serve as flood storage projects. USACE main river projects used to maintain stable water levels for navigation are Cordell Hull, Old Hickory, Cheatham and Barkley locks & dams.

“The locks and dams in the Nashville District are safely operating to pass these high flows while mitigating downstream flood impacts,” said Clint Neel, acting chief, USACE Nashville District water management section.

Various USACE Nashville District projects become particularly important during times of heavy rainfall. The National Weather Service provides USACE with radar rainfall estimates and forecasts of inflows to our reservoirs. USACE in turn provides real-time information and forecasts for the operations of projects and corresponding discharges which are incorporated into official river flood forecasts provided to the public.

Updated forecasts for various locations along the Cumberland River:

• For the Cumberland River at Nashville, a peak stage of 40.5 feet is predicted early Friday morning (Action stage = 30.0 feet; Flood stage = 40.0 feet).

• For the Cumberland River at Clarksville, a peak stage of 50.8 feet is predicted midday Friday (Action stage = 40.0 feet; Flood stage = 46.0 feet).

• For the Cumberland River at Dover, a peak stage of 67.3 feet is predicted overnight Friday (Action stage = 62.0 feet; Flood stage = 66.0 feet).

Weather can be unpredictable, and USACE urges everyone to exercise caution and prepare for extreme weather events. Many people do not realize two feet of water on a highway or bridge can float most vehicles. If the water is moving rapidly, the car, truck or SUV can be swept off the bridge and into a body of water. Water can erode the roadbed, creating unsafe driving conditions. Underpasses can fill with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Many flash floods occur at night when flooded roads are difficult to see. Information for preparing for floods can be found at Floods |

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District manages the Cumberland River and its tributaries, balancing the demands for water releases to flood risk management, commercial navigation, production of hydropower, recreation, fish and wildlife, water supply and water quality.

The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest Nashville District employment and contracting opportunities at