NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers has posted online for the public viewing maps that predict flood damage on the Cumberland River if the Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky failed.
The maps were previously displayed at public meetings and in public libraries in communities along the river, but the Corps had resisted posting them online or releasing them to newspapers, citing security concerns, The Tennessean reported.
The Corps said last month it planned to begin posting the maps online, saying "the public's need for knowledge and understanding of the situation partly outweighs the need for security," according to the Web site.
The Wolf Creek Dam is in the midst of a $309 million repair project to control dangerous seeping under the structure's mile-long earth embankment.
The dam in Russell County impounds Lake Cumberland, the largest manmade lake east of the Mississippi River that attracts millions of recreational visitors each year.
Officials have announced plans to keep the level of Lake Cumberland low through this year's summer season to relieve pressure on the dam. Officials are concerned that a failure at the dam, though unlikely, would cause flooding in Kentucky and Tennessee cities along the Cumberland River, including parts of downtown Nashville.
The maps predict different ranges of inundation, based on variations in how badly the dam would fail and drain the reservoir and how quickly water levels would rise downstream.
In the worst-case scenario, the maps show portions of Nashville being inundated, including the following sites: LP Field, where the Tennessee Titans football team plays; the Country Music Hall of Fame; parts of Lower Broadway, where the city's honky-tonks and other attractions are located; the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center; and the Roy Acuff Theater, where the Grand Ole Opry is located during peak tourist season.
The maps for the five Kentucky counties and 15 Tennessee counties threatened by flooding can be seen on the Corps' Nashville District Web site: http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/WolfCreek ---
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)