Louisville, KY -- The heavy rains, almost 10 inches in parts of Kentucky last weekend, will impact agricultural areas along Green River and may cancel Memorial Day Weekend plans for campers at Barkley, Barren, Buckhorn, Cumberland, Green River, Nolin, and Rough River lakes.
Due to the high water, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported releases from lakes in the Green River Basin will impact agricultural areas below the lakes. The Corps is closely monitoring releases from these lakes to not cause additional flooding for communities while working to reduce the high lake levels expeditiously.
“The extremely heavy rains are unusual for this season,” said Mark Philips, a hydraulic engineer for the Corps in Louisville. “Although the rains brought us close to record pools at several lakes, we do not expect to exceed the record levels. Reservoirs are and continue to be, operated as designed. Our reservoir lakes have been tested at these levels before so there is no concern with any of our lakes during this event.”
As the lakes continue their work of impounding the excess water and reducing damages to downstream communities, the Corps will increase the release rates to reduce the lake levels to ready the reservoirs to accept additional rains in the future. At these higher levels of release, agricultural areas will be impacted.
“Water stored during this event will be released as quickly as possible without exasperating high water conditions downstream,” Philips said. “We regret agricultural areas will be impacted while we reduce these levels. The reservoir levels must be reduced to prepare for any major rain events.”
Taylorsville, Green and Barren River lakes have risen 20 feet above their summer pool levels. Nolin has risen more than 12 feet and continues to rise. Rough River Lake has risen 14 feet above summer pool. Although the reservoirs have ample storage available for future precipitation events, it may take more than six weeks to evacuate this storage and return the lakes to their summer pool elevations.
The Corps will start releases today which will keep the rivers at bank full stages with some minor low land flooding. Releases will continue at higher rates through May 15, and then the Corps will re-evaluate the individual lake situation to see if the releases can be reduced in support of the farmers’ needs. The release plan will delay farmers from getting into fields closest to Green River to plant crops.
In addition, heavy rainfall has impacted recreational activities at several lakes. These impacts are expected through the Memorial Day Weekend and possibly into the summer.
To view full release (PDF), visit
<a href="Heavy'>http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/pa/article.asp?id=239&MyCategory=107">Heavy rains impact agricultural areas, campgrounds</a>
For information on lake levels and flood updates, visit