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Warning issued for rising water levels

Published: May. 28, 2022 at 3:57 PM EDT
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(WDBJ) - A rapid rise along multiple rivers within the region is expected for the next week.

According to Appalachian Power, the New and Roanoke Rivers could hit spikes beginning Tuesday, May 31 and continue to fluctuate throughout the week. Boaters, kayakers, tubers and other recreational users downstream of Claytor and Leesville dams are to be on alert.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s to 90s throughout the week, leading PJM, the independent organization that manages the electric grid in 13 states, to notify AEP that an increase in power generation to its hydroelectric plants may be needed in order to maintain the reliability of the regional grid.

“If the company is notified to increase power generation, we have little time to alert the public,” added George Porter, surveyor of communications for Appalachian Power’s hydro-operations. “Because of the short notice, we want to make the public aware now of the possibility water levels could increase suddenly and continue to fluctuate throughout the week.”

Underneath Claytor Dam, water levels can rise up to two feet in just minutes. Water below Leesville Dam can spike as much as eight feet over seven hours. Appalachian Power’s website can be monitored for hydro plant levels and flows.

The Claytor Dam is operated by Appalachian Power and has a total installed electric generating capacity of 76 megawatts. Leesville Dam carries a generating capacity of 50 megawatts and is a part of the Smith Mountain Project.

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