The TVA System usually draws down the lakes at the end of the summer to make room for the hoped-for spring thaw. This year there wasn't much to draw down. Most of the lakes in our area were low all summer following a three year drought. The photo above shows the dried-up swimming area at Shook Branch Recreation Area on Watauga Lake. To the right is a chart from the TVA website comparing this year's rainfall in the TVA valley to a normal year. Click here for an interesting discussion about the drought in the Johnson City Press with a TVA official.
Head on over to Hiking Bill's website to see a photo of the unusually low water flow over Laurel Falls.