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Army Corps of Western Kentucky prepares for heavy rainfall

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 10:59 PM CST
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GRAND RIVERS, Ky. (KFVS) - The heavy rain coming this weekend could make matters worse on the Ohio River which is already above flood stage.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of Western Kentucky has a game plan for the wet weather.

The spillways at Barkley Dam have been open for weeks in order to lower the levels of Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake so they can absorb all this heavy rain.

Operation Manager Mike Looney said the Army Corps successfully got the lakes to winter pool stage on Thursday, Jan. 9 and reduced the outflow by 14,000 cubic feet per second.

All of the water that goes through the dam feeds into the Ohio River which is already above flood stage in Paducah, Ky. and Cairo, Ill.

Looney said hydrologic engineers will be working through the rainy weekend and will make changes to the spillways as needed.

“One of our authorized purposes to exist is to reduce the damage from flooding," Looney said. "In order to keep the lakes where we can capture rainwater that comes in and slowly and controllably released that water into the river downstream from us without increasing flooding.“

The spillway sightseeing areas and both lakes will remain open this weekend.

If you plan to take your boat out on the water, Looney said to watch out for floating debris and sandbars and always wear a life vest.

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