Appalachian Power hydro facilities reach target levels

Water in hydroelectric facilities operated by Appalachian Power in Virginia has been lowered to target levels in order to manage the potential inflow of heavy rain next week from remnants of Hurricane Florence.

The company’s two largest hydro projects—Claytor Hydro Project on New River and Smith Mountain Project on Roanoke River—have been lowered over the past several days to levels that will help the company manage extreme rainfall levels expected early next week and help lessen possible flooding on the reservoirs.

The Claytor Project operates at a level of about 1846 ft. elevation. It reached its lower target elevation of 1841 ft. late Wednesday and will be maintained at that level pending the outcome of Florence storm system rainfall.

The Smith Mountain Project—which comprises two reservoirs: the larger Smith Mountain and downstream Leesville—operates as a pump storage generating system. Its adjusted level has been lowered to 792 ft. from 795 ft. The “adjusted” level is the elevation Smith Mountain Lake would be if water held for reuse in the lower Leesville Lake were pumped back into the upper reservoir.

The adjusted level will also be maintained pending the rainfall outcome.

Hydro operations personnel will continue to monitor the movements of the hurricane and as it degrades into a tropical storm and depression and will make adjustments as necessary.

Lakeside residents should be vigilant in monitoring weather and news sources for storm information. Appalachian Power hydro levels and flows are always available at https://www.aep.com/environment/conservation/hydro/