Heavy rains cause increased inflows into Smith Mountain hydro project

Officials: Water may affect private and public dock, shoreline areas

By Troy Blevins - Graham Media Group

ROANOKE, Va. - Officials said heavy rains in the Roanoke and Blackwater rivers watersheds have caused increased inflows into Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain hydro project, threatening high water for lakeside residents.

There are estimates the rains could produce a total inflow of 71,000 cubic feet per second of water flowing into the hydro project by Thursday evening, creating high water levels at Smith Mountain Lake, according to Appalachian Power officials.

At Smith Mountain Project, which is a two-reservoir pumped storage hydroelectric plant, the inflow from all tributaries is expected to push the upper reservoir to a predicted level of about 795.8 feet elevation sometime Thursday night, officials said. Full pond at Smith Mountain Project is 795 feet.

Officials said hydro operations personnel are monitoring conditions and managing flows and releases at the project to balance water storage capacities in the two lakes and help minimize the effects of water released from the Leesville Dam into the Staunton River.

Water may affect private and public dock and shoreline areas if the level at Smith Mountain Lake rises above 795 feet, officials said. Residential and business owners are advised to take precautions to properly secure boats and items on docks and to move loose items upland from the lake. Boaters should be aware of potential debris in the lakes from the rain.

Appalachian Power estimates the project will return to its regular adjusted operating level of 795 feet in a couple of days, assuming no additional weather issues. Officials said personnel will continue to observe inflows and releases and will make adjustments as necessary.

Click here for more information and to view Appalachian Power hydro levels and flows.

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