Appalachian Power issues warning about water levels downstream of Leesville Dam

~Includes Altavista, Campbell County, Brookneal~

 Appalachian Power wants boaters, kayakers, tubers, and other recreational users downstream of Leesville and Claytor dams to know that water levels on the New and Roanoke/ Staunton Rivers could rise rapidly starting Wednesday, Aug. 3, and continue to fluctuate throughout the week.

The National Weather Service is calling for high temperatures and PJM, the independent regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid in 13 states, has notified Appalachian Power it may need to increase power generation at its hydroelectric plants to maintain the reliability of the regional electric grid if called upon to do so.

Water levels below Leesville Dam could increase as much as eight feet over a seven-hour period. Below Claytor Dam, water levels could increase up to two feet in a matter of minutes. Those considering recreating on the rivers should monitor AEP’s website for additional information and follow us on Smith Mountain or Claytor Facebook pages for updates.

Leesville Dam, with a generating capacity of 50 megawatts, is part of the Smith Mountain Project, a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River. Located on the New River in Pulaski County, the Claytor Dam is operated by Appalachian Power. The total installed electric generating capacity of the plant is 76 megawatts.

Appalachian Power has one million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions.

Considering the frequency of these warnings, it is advisable to check on the Appalachian Power website or its SML Facebook page in advance whenever going out on the Staunton River this summer.