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Friday, January 25, 2013

Lake back up to full pond

Days of heavy rain followed by the year's first snowfall last week have raised the water levels at Smith Mountain Lake back up to full pond.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the lake was at 795 feet above sea level.

"We all hoped for rain to answer our drought problems in the fall, but who knew it would be a combination of rain and snow that would get us back to full pond elevation?" said Todd Burns, spokesman for Appalachian Power, which operates the dual hydroelectric project that includes Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes.

Burns said the water hovered at about 790 feet during the later part of 2012, with minimal inflows between 200 and 400 cubic feet.

"When the big rain hit, we saw inflows in excess of 17,000 cubic feet per second," Burns said.

Burns said stakeholders will meet this week to discuss whether to lift a variance to the minimum release, which was approved Dec. 21.

- Laker Weekly