68ºF

Water levels remain 2-3 feet below normal at SML

Despite recent rainfall, it hasn't been enough to raise water levels

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE –      
Despite recent rainfall, it hasn't been enough to raise water levels in local rivers and lakes.
     
The Virginia Department of Environmental quality issued a drought watch advisory for the Roanoke River regions.
     
According to Appalachian Power spokesperson John Shepelwich, this means people living in those areas have been asked to conserve water.
     
The Roanoke River is the main feeder to Smith Mountain Lake which remains two to three feet below normal water levels.

Even for those unfamiliar with Smith Mountain Lake, judging by the colors on the shoreline it isn't hard to tell the water level is below normal.

The low water levels are especially noticeable in coves and can expose rocks and shoals that can be dangerous for unsuspecting boaters.

"From a safety standpoint boaters should be looking in those areas in the low coves and shorelines and placing around the islands and shoals that are marked already...just to be safe and use caution,” Shepelwich said.
Shepelwich said while this time of year is usually a low point for the lake, this year is much worse than last due to little to no rainfall.

From late September to early October there was a 19 day stretch without rain.
   
That on top of AEP's power generation process can cause significant reduction in lake levels.

"That allows the water levels to fluctuate and then pump back, it can be anywhere from two to three feet or so below the full pond level and that's what some boaters and property owners could be experiencing,” Shepelwich said.

Which explains what we're seeing along the shorelines, coves and islands around the lake.

While it isn't stopping boaters or lake goers looking to soak up the last lake days in the season, it's good to keep in mind before heading out on the water.
     
Water levels remain normal in the New River Valley.  The New River is the main feeder into Claytor Lake. Shepelwich said levels there haven't been an issue this season.
     
The New River Valley as well as parts of southwest Virginia have on average received more rainfall than the Roanoke Valley.
 


About the Author: