HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Recent rains that brought flooding to parts of West Virginia have caused officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release over 8,000 cubic feet of water (cfs) from Sutton Dam in Sutton, W.Va. This is the highest outflow since March 2015.
High releases from Sutton Dam are most noticeable between the dam and below Gassaway, W.Va. Businesses and residents along the river are encouraged to take note of water levels. On the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, the Outflow Stage was 821.5 feet above sea level. The maximum allowed Outflow Stage is 825 feet. In March 2016, the Outflow Stage reached 823.25 feet.
For those who live along the river, it is possible for the river to rise almost four feet higher than recent levels. The primary area of concern is State Street in Gassaway. The lower end of the road, near Stewart Addition, is blocked several times a year due to high water. The upper end of State Street, near Otter Lane is subject to flooding at Outflow elevations above 823 feet. The actual levels are impacted by runoff of small streams below Sutton Dam, including Granny’s Creek, Buffalo Creek, Otter Creek and others.
Although the Water Control Manual for Sutton Dam authorizes the release of 12,600 cfs, the conditions necessary to reach high outflows are rare. There must be sufficient inflow into Sutton Lake to not allow the lake level to fall more than six feet in 24 hours, and water released must not cause the Elk River to exceed flood stage below Sutton Dam, particularly in Frametown, W.Va.
High discharges from Sutton Dam are coordinated with the Braxton County Office of Emergency Services. Residents can sign up for automated messages and phone calls in the event of high water. Information about water levels along the Elk River are available on line at http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/kan/sue (search for Sutton Lake Water Level). The Corps of Engineers at Sutton Lake has an Information Phone Line at 304-765-2705. To receive alerts from Braxton Co. OES, text your zip code to 888777 or call the Braxton Co. OES at 304-765-3520.
Sutton Dam was constructed for Flood Damage Reduction along the Elk River and beyond, and since it was constructed it has reduced damages by over $511 million. As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fulfills this mission at Sutton Dam, residents are encouraged to understand how the dam is operated and potential impacts in their area.
For more information, call the Public Affairs office at 304-399-5353.