FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – Smith Mountain Lake is expected to exceed its full pond elevation by three feet because of heavy rainfall, according to Appalachian Power.
Normal full pond level at Smith Mountain Lake is 795 feet.
Predictions from the National Weather Service show the reservoir reaching an elevation of 798 feet by Friday morning, which is three feet above full pond.
Appalachian Power, the operator of the Smith Mountain Project hydroelectric facility, said allowing the reservoir to exceed full pond will assist in preventing additional flooding downstream.
“That’s the main thing we want to look at. If we don’t, if we were to continue to allow water to release into the reservoir downstream, it can be additional flooding for those localities downstream. So, allowing water to be stored to go over that full pond prevents flooding downstream,” said Appalachian Power spokesperson George Porter.
The higher pond level is typically one foot above the height of a stationary dock. Property owners are encouraged to remove unsecured items from the lower levels of their docks and relocate any items along the shoreline.
Property owners should also secure floating docks and take caution when walking on docks.
10 News has received several reports from viewers of boats floating away from docks already and conservation police said it’s gotten plenty of calls about this as well.
Authorities will continue to monitor water levels this weekend, however conservation police told 10 News they don’t believe Thursday’s and Friday’s high water levels will be an issue over the rest of the weekend.
Instead, officers will be focused on anything reckless and that includes operating a boat under the influence of alcohol.
Officers will be checking boats for fire extinguishers, registrations and working headlights.
“Just make sure that they create a little checklist. Like a boat safety checklist. Take five minutes before they go out and that ensures they have everything they need so they don’t have to worry about it once they’re actually out there,” said conservation officer Tyler Routon.