NEWS RELEASE: ROANOKE, Va., November 12, 2020 – Appalachian Power, operator of the Smith Mountain Project hydroelectric facility in southwest Virginia, is advising property owners and visitors that the Smith Mountain Reservoir will exceed its full pond level by 4 feet early Friday morning.
Normal full pond elevation at Smith Mountain Lake is 795 feet. The project’s lower reservoir, Leesville Lake, has a full pond level of 613 feet.
Based on updated forecasts issued by the National Weather Service, Smith Mountain reservoir will reach an elevation of about 799 feet, or approximately 4 feet above full pond. Allowing the reservoir to exceed full pond helps property owners downstream by preventing additional flooding.
Shoreline property owners are urged to be attentive to local and National Weather Service reports and secure any property around the lake. When securing boats, allow for sufficient overhead clearance in slips to allow boats to rise without doing damage to dock roofs.
An increase of only inches in water levels could make walking docks unsafe, cause unsecure watercraft and floating docks to float away into navigation channels and wash loose items from the shore. Property owners are encouraged to relocate any unsecured items from the lower levels of their docks and watch for floating hazards such as natural debris.
Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Combined, the project includes about 600 miles of shoreline. Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power.