Weekend deluge delays schools, closes roads, Tennessee Riverpark on Monday

High winds, torrents of rain downed trees, power lines

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 4/24/17. Motorists drive through standing water on Sandswitch Road near Boy Scout Rd. after recent rains flooded the area on Monday, April 24, 2017.

The surprisingly heavy rainfalls over the weekend have flooded the upper reaches of the Tennessee River and its tributaries above Chattanooga, stretching TVA engineers' abilities to control the surging flow of water.

"Mother Nature dealt us a lot more rainfall than we were expecting," said James Everett, manager of operations for TVA's river forecast center. "The forecast on Friday was for 2-3 inches, and it was supposed to push well north of us, but we received in the 4-6-inch range much further south on the main stem of the river between Chickamauga and the Fort Loudon area where we don't have a lot of storage."

As a result, TVA engineers were allowing about a million gallons of water a second to go through the spillways and electrical generating turbines at Chickamauga Dam, even though it was causing some minor flooding downstream (a normal flow on a summer day would be 100,000 gallons per second, TVA officials said).