Lake Levels Continue to Drop as Drought Persists, According to Alabama Power

Despite some recent rains in central Alabama, the National Weather Service continues to categorize the drought situation in most of the state as either "extreme" or "exceptional." Severe drought conditions also persist throughout the Southeast, affecting water levels throughout Alabama and Georgia.

That means the water levels of Alabama Power's lakes probably will remain well below normal through the Labor Day weekend. Drought conditions are particularly severe on the company's storage reservoirs -- lakes that Alabama Power raise and lower during summer and winter for flood control, required minimum flows and power generation purposes.

The company's storage reservoirs are Smith, Weiss, Neely Henry, Logan Martin, Harris and Martin. Without significant, sustained rainfall, most of these lakes will be near their winter levels before October -- about two months earlier than normal.

On the Tallapoosa River, Harris Lake is eight feet below its normal summer level and Lake Martin is five feet below normal. On the Coosa River, Weiss, Neely Henry and Logan Martin lakes are at or near record low levels. Smith Lake on the Warrior River is about 12 feet below its normal summer level. A listing of lake levels as of Aug. 18 is attached to this release.

With the lake levels so low, boaters and homeowners who usually celebrate the Labor Day holiday on the lake should be sure to take appropriate safety precautions because of hazards they usually don't see in the summer. Boaters should be aware of shallow areas and debris. Property and homeowners should be aware of lake levels and take appropriate steps to protect private property such as boats and floating docks.

The company's philosophy for operating these reservoirs is to keep the lakes as full as possible. Daily minimum water releases from the dams are required to meet downstream navigation, environmental, water-quality and critical power generation needs. Alabama Power has been releasing only minimal amounts of water since mid-May.

Because of careful planning, constant monitoring and adjustments to generating schedules, these minimum water releases have not affected the company's ability to meet customer demand for power.

Information about lake levels and generating schedules at Alabama Power's hydroelectric dams is available to the public through Alabama Power's Reservoir Information Line at 1-800-LAKES-11.

Climate and drought summaries and forecasts are available on the Internet at

Alabama Power provides affordable, reliable electric service to 1.3 million customers in the lower two-thirds of the Alabama. Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company , the largest producer of electricity in the United States and one of the world's largest independent power producers.

             Lake Levels: Data updated 10:10 August 18, 2000

  Plant                        Current Elev     Summer Pool
  WEISS                            560.97          564.00
  HENRY                            506.22          508.00
  LOGAN                            461.73          465.00
  LAY                              395.76          396.00
  MITCHELL                         311.61          312.00
  BOULDIN                          250.98          252.00
  JORDAN                           251.08          252.00
  HARRIS                           785.79          793.00
  MARTIN                           484.79          489.50
  YATES                            341.97          344.00
  THURLOW                          287.13          287.50
  SMITH                            498.46          510.00
  BANKHEAD                         254.41          255.00
  HOLT                             186.45          187.00

SOURCE: Alabama Power

Contact: David Oliver of Alabama Power, office, 205-257-2401, or
pager, 1-800-999-6710, pin 990-0115, or email,