Huntington, W.Va. – Residents who live along the Elk River below Sutton Dam in Sutton,
W.Va., are being cautioned that after future extreme storm events, they may see higher river levels than
they have experienced in the past as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to manage the dam’s
Between December 1 and April 15 the lake is regulated to maintain a “winter” level – by keeping
the pool low, it allows for maximum storage capacity during heavy rain events in the Spring (such as
during the past week).
When downstream stages rise above historically-set control levels, Sutton Dam holds back flood
waters. When the flows downstream have dropped below control levels, the dam will open to release the
stored floodwaters as quickly as possible (without exceeding downstream control levels). It is essential
to get rid of the excess flood waters stored in the dam in order to prepare for any future precipitation.
The maximum allowed release stage at Sutton Dam’s outflow gage is 25 feet, which is 2 feet
higher than the releases observed on March 11, 2015.
While the Sutton Dam personnel will do their best to inform residents and businesses
downstream of the dam of any higher-than-expected releases (if they become necessary), it is important
that people in the affected areas stay alert to the possible change in river levels.
For more information, call the Public Affairs office at 304-399-5353.