KINGSPORT, Tenn. - As the summer recreation season nears, Tennessee Valley Authority officials are warning boaters of lower-than-normal water levels at three lakes in East Tennessee.
TVA officials told media that a lack of rainfall has caused the situation, which is affecting the Norris, Cherokee and South Holston reservoirs.
"It's mainly to do with the lack of rainfall in those watersheds. ... The areas that drain into those lakes haven't gotten as much rainfall as the remainder of the tributary reservoirs," TVA Senior River Forecast Manager Tom Barnett said.
The lower water level means boaters could face potential hazards such as sandbars, exposed banks and shallow areas.
"We are asking people who are out on the lake to be a little extra cautious," Barnett said.
"At South Holston, there's still more water in the lake than there is during the winter," he said. "At Cherokee and Norris, you'll see more of a brown ring around the reservoir, and there's more navigation hazards, more sand bars, and more stumps that might be submerged. ... We're urging people to exercise caution, especially if they are unfamiliar with the lakes. ... It could be a hot, dry summer."
It's a far cry from last year when TVA had record-high lake levels.
Officials say they are still hoping for more rain this spring before boating season starts.
TVA's summer recreation season typically runs from June 1 through Labor Day.