Drought conditions that began last fall persist across many parts of Alabama, and limited rains combined with early vegetation growth continue to pose a challenge as Alabama Power prepares to raise lake levels for the summer.
Higher-than-normal temperatures have led to plants blooming early, reducing the amount of rain flowing into streams and lakes. And weather experts haven’t forecast the above-average rainfall needed for river basins to fully recover from the ongoing drought.
Alabama Power relies on winter and spring rains to refill its storage reservoirs to summer levels. Because of the challenging conditions, Alabama Power has worked closely with government agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to raise lake levels earlier than normal at Weiss and Logan Martin lakes on the Coosa River, and Harris and Martin lakes on the Tallapoosa River. Smith Lake on the Black Warrior River also is being raised slightly earlier than normal. Here are the specific lake-level modifications:
Harris Lake Raise to summer level by April 1
Lake Martin Raise 2 feet above winter level to 489 feet (msl) until April 1, then fill normally
Logan Martin Lake Raise 5 feet to 462 feet until April 16, then fill normally
Weiss Lake Raise to summer level by April 1
These temporary changes are designed to improve the odds that Alabama Power reservoirs on the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers can reach normal summer levels. These changes may affect the ability to perform shoreline projects, so lake property owners should plan accordingly.
Alabama Power will continue to closely monitor conditions on the lakes and manage the limited water resources carefully. Individuals with boats and other water-related equipment and facilities should always be alert to changing conditions and be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect their property.
For details about specific lakes add our free Shorelines app to your mobile device, and click on the lake name then click the circular information icon.