BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Power leaders said there is no longer an immediate threat of flooding from Smith Lake, but parts of the park and surrounding communities are underwater.
It’s something Jimmie Johnson and his wife had to see with their own eyes Friday. Johnson took picture - after picture - after picture of Smith Lake they’d never seen it before.
“We used to fish off that dock, and now you can barely see the walkway. It’s just insane how high this water is,” Kathleen Johnson.
The water Friday sloshed well into the parking lot. You can see a bench peek between the waves of the lake, possibly the flags of a boat underwater, and another boat tethered to a post so it won’t wash away.
“I’m 53 and I’ve never seen it this high,’ said Dana Kugler.
Dana Kugler says her family helped create Smith Lake Park and knows the area very well. WBRC trailed her car over to Speegle Marina where campers are now crowded along the fence line on patches of dry grass. with porches and other belongings stranded in the distance.
Alabama Power monitors lake levels. Representatives weren’t available for an interview, but said recent heavy rains caused the lake to swell to its peak elevation of 521 feet. It’s not expected to reach the spillway crest elevation of 522 feet.
In a full statement saying:
As of April 1, Smith Lake is at its peak elevation of 521 feet from recent heavy rains. Due to successful water management by Alabama Power and cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Smith Lake is not expected to reach the spillway crest elevation of 522 feet and the spillway operations plan will not be implemented. With no rain in the forecast for the next seven days, lake levels at Smith are expected to decrease and could return to summer pool level of 510 feet around the third week of April.
We are happy to provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also get up-to-the-minute alerts on lake conditions on Alabama Power’s Smart Lakes app or at www.apcshorelines.com.
Mike Murphree has monitored water levels on his phone for the last few days and says flooding is part of lake living.
‘This is the second worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Murphree, “I think Alabama Power did it right according to the book. They can’t just open the spillway because of the water downstream.”
But some people wonder if Alabama Power could have done more before it got to this.
“Why did Alabama Power let it get so high. Why did this happen,” said Dana Kugler.
The latest data on the Alabama Power Lake Monitoring app showed as of Friday evening the lake level was at 520 feet and 9 inches.