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VOL. 43 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 8, 2019

Lee signs order related to flood recovery

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MEMPHIS (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority prepared Friday for more rainfall that could add water to already-overflowing rivers, and Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order making it easier for Tennessee to recover from the effects of serious flooding.

The order signed Thursday begins the process for declaring a federal disaster after parts of the state set records for rainfall last month. Rain caused flooding in homes, businesses, roads, farms and fields, and led to landslides and highway closures.

River levels remain high in parts of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, with more rain expected Friday and Saturday. There are flood worries about the Tennessee River, its tributaries and reservoirs.

Lee's order enables easier delivery of health care, insurance and relief supplies to 83 Tennessee counties affected by flooding. It also helps the repair of state and federal highways damaged by high water.

The order is retroactive to Feb. 6 and runs through April 7. Lee was scheduled to survey damage in Hardin County and other flood-stricken areas of west Tennessee on Friday.

TVA said Friday that water releases in Tennessee River tributaries were continuing at an aggressive pace as the agency manages river levels.

The river remains above flood stage at Savannah, Perryville and near Pickwick Dam in Tennessee, and Florence in Alabama, said James Everett, manager of the TVA's River Forecast Center.

Water releases at Kentucky Dam are near record levels, Everett said.

TVA is keeping an eye on the weather Friday and Saturday, when 1-3 inches (2-7.5 centimeters) could fall in the Tennessee River valley, Everett said.

TVA is urging people to use extreme caution if they plan to use rivers and lakes for fishing or recreation, as debris and high water pose dangers for boaters.

"These are extremely turbulent waters and extremely high currents," Everett said.

Meanwhile, flood warnings and advisories remain in effect for the Mississippi River at Tiptonville and Memphis in Tennessee, Helena and Osceola in Arkansas, and Tunica in Mississippi. A flood warning also is in effect for the Tombigbee River at Amory in Mississippi.

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