River Levels Streamgages Weather

Total streamflow across the Watauga River was last observed at 476 cfs, and is expected to yield approximately 943 acre-ft of water today; about 67% of normal. River levels are low and may signify a drought. Average streamflow for this time of year is 708 cfs, with recent peaks last observed on 2020-02-06 when daily discharge volume was observed at 12,870 cfs.

Maximum discharge along the river is currently at the Watauga River At Elizabethton reporting a streamflow rate of 423 cfs. This is also the highest stage along the Watauga River, with a gauge stage of 3.02 ft at this location. This river is monitored from 2 different streamgauging stations along the Watauga River, the highest being situated at an altitude of 2,613 ft, the Watauga River Near Sugar Grove.

The Watauga River is a tributary of the Tennessee River that runs for approximately 78 miles through North Carolina and Tennessee. The river was historically used by Native American tribes as a source of food and transportation. Today, it is a popular spot for recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, and rafting. The river's hydrology is affected by several reservoirs and dams, including the Watauga Dam, which was constructed in the early 1940s for hydroelectric power generation and flood control. The reservoir behind the dam, known as Watauga Lake, is a popular spot for boating and fishing. The river is also used for irrigation in agricultural areas along its banks.

July 20, 2024







Last Updated 2024-07-20
Discharge Volume 943 ACRE-FT
Streamflow 475.5 cfs
-39.5 cfs (-7.67%)
Percent of Normal 67.2%
Maximum 12,870.0 cfs
Seasonal Avg 708 cfs
Streamgauge Streamflow Gauge Stage 24hr Change (%) % Normal Minimum (cfs) Maximum (cfs) Air Temp Elevation
Watauga River Near Sugar Grove
USGS 03479000
53 cfs 1.54 ft -35.19
Watauga River At Elizabethton
USGS 03486000
423 cfs 3.02 ft -2.53

Regional Streamflow


Cubic Feet Per Second


Cubic Feet Per Second


Cubic Feet Per Second


Cubic Feet Per Second

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Historical River Levels

The Watauga River () is a large stream of western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is 78.5 miles (126.3 km) long with its headwaters on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain and Peak Mountain in Watauga County, North Carolina.

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