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Gathright Dam begins controlled flood releases

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COVINGTON  (WSLS 10) - The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will began a controlled flood release at Gathright Dam near Covington on Saturday. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., operators at the dam will gradually increase the release rate from 1,230  cubic feet per second to 5,000  cfs by 2:30 p.m.

The agency advises people who use the Jackson River to be aware of the river fluctuations caused by the release. The release was made necessary by more than 4 inches of rainfall above the dam Thursday, which caused Lake Moomaw to rise into the flood pool.

Due to high flows downstream, officials waited until today to initiate flood releases to allow streams to recede. Gathright Dam's controlled flood release will increase river stages at the dam about 2.5  feet. River stages at Covington are expected to increase about 2.2 feet over the next 6 to 10 hours.

Officials expect flood releases to continue until Monday.

Routine flood releases maintain the water storage capacity of Lake Moomaw and occur most often during the spring, but can happen any time of the year.

Residents can monitor the Norfolk District's website here.