Archived Story

Ala. Power keeping close watch on lake

Published 7:44pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013

With the recent increase in rainfall, Alabama Power Company has been closely monitoring the water level at Lake Martin.

Rain throughout the Fourth of July weekend caused Alabama Power to open the spillway gates at Martin Dam earlier this week.

Alyson Tucker, spokesperson for Alabama Power, said the rainfall in the area is currently three inches above the historical average for this time of year.

“The rain system that impacted our area from July 3-6 brought elevated flow for a short time period. The rain gauges in the Tallapoosa Basin recorded an average of 4.3 inches so far in July,” Tucker said. “The majority of that came from the early July rain that we got. The historical average is 1.1 inches in July.”

Tucker said the 4.3 inches of rainfall represents 85 percent of the average rainfall for the entire month of July.

“Because of that rain system, we were required to open a couple of gates at Martin Dam, but they were only open for a short time,” Tucker said. “Currently, there is still good flow in the river and there are no lingering issues. The National Weather Service continues to forecast rainfall for our area.”

Tucker said Alabama Power does not give out or set specific dates or times to open the spillway gates but makes those decisions down the line in the case of heavy rainfall.

Tucker added there are no specific trigger points that determine when the spillway gates are opened but said Alabama Power opens the gates “as often as needed to keep the lake’s elevation below 490 feet.”

As of Tuesday, Lake Martin’s elevation was 489.57 feet. The National Weather Service seven-day forecast gives at least a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms through Friday with a 70 percent chance of storms on Wednesday and a 60 percent chance of storms on Thursday.