Heavy rains have been hitting Western North Carolina fairly hard lately, so much so that Fontana Lake was 4 feet higher than it should of been. My buddy Nick sent me a video that Bryson City shared on there Instagram page and I knew I had to make it out there to see this first hand. I love Dams and Fontana Dam is one of my favorites. I travel all over the area visiting them and photographing them all of the time, eventually I want to do a small book about dams. I planned on leaving the next morning, I didn't know if they would still have the spillway open, but I was hoping they wood.
I packed my two kids up at 6 a.m. and darted out the door after giving my wife a kiss on the cheek, she had to go to work. It took us two in half hours to get there, traffic wasn't bad along the interstates and I felt we made really good time. We got to Fontana Dam at around 8:30 a.m. and to my joyful surprise the spillway was still going.
Driving up to the TVA parking area for visitors you could feel the wind off of the release and a light fog filled the road. I was excited, we parked and my step son and I jumped out to go see it, Abbey my step daughter wanted to just keep reading her book. I don't know exactly how high the water was shooting, but it was high (if I had to guess, I would say 50 ft). I walked over to the edge of the road, the wind was pushing trees back and the water was really rough, even at the edge.
Cars started piling in and I decided to head on up to the top of Fontana Dam to see the view from up there. We pulled into the visitors center parking area they have there and started walking out along the dam. We made it a little over half way across when I stopped to take in the view. Watching it from the top of the dam was just as impressive as watching down below. You get a real good sense of scale from the top.
The TVA released a statement saying "We've increased releases from Fontana Dam to help bring the reservoir down to normal summertime levels. Water is now being released from both spillway tunnels at a rate of 16,700 cubic feet per second (125,250 gallons per sec.): on their Twitter account. That's a lot of water!
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