Smith Mountain Lake takes on heavy rain as Memorial Day weekend crowds loom

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SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WDBJ/Gray News) - "In 20 years this is only the third time I've actually had to take it out of the boat house," said Dan Pendleton.

Boat owner Dan Pendleton secures his boat as water levels at Smith Mountain Lake continue to rise Thursday. WDBJ7 photo.

Like many other boat owners, Pendleton has been keeping watch on the waters at Smith Mountain Lake.

With rainfall persisting the past few days, water levels have folks scrambling to make sure their vessels are safe.

"The problem is with the boat house, the water comes up so high that if you don't get your boat out, it can do damage if it goes up into the rafters," said Pendleton.

As the lake continues to take on more rain, Appalachian Power says the levels will exceed capacity.

They expect the reservoir to hit three feet over full pond.

Meanwhile, conservation police say large Memorial Day crowds will have to use extra caution if they choose to go out on the water.

"Use extreme caution when out on the waters with the high levels being the way they are. Wearing a life jacket's never a bad thing even though they're not required to but we strongly suggest people to wear a life jacket," said Shane Wilson, Virginia Conservation police officer.

However, not everyone is concerned about the rain with sunshine in the weekend's forecast.

Mike Miles and Tina Arthur say the rain won't stop their weekend plans.

"I think it's time for people to get out and enjoy and unfortunately we've all been cooped up," said Miles.

"I think it's time for us to get out," said Arthur. "Just be responsible and have a great time this weekend."

But back at the docks, Pendleton continues to make adjustments as the weekend gets closer.

"Even if the weather clears up, I'd say it's gonna be some issues, particularly Roanoke River coming down, all the debris in the water, logs and sticks, so the weekend's going to be very interesting," said Pendleton. "I don't know when the rain's going to stop but it's going to be high water and that presents problems."

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