Check out the JRL Downstream Early Warning System news release!

Click here to view the informational brochure!

Contact Us

Jennings Randolph Lake project office number:  (304) 355-2346

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please e-mail for further information. 

Downstream Early Warning System Overview

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has installed a year-round early warning system at Jennings Randolph Lake intended to notify downstream public users of impending rapid increases in water levels, and to evacuate the river immediately to higher ground for their safety. Public safety is the Corps’ top priority. This new warning system ensures continued safe recreation at the lake and communities downstream. Recreational use at the project includes both in-lake and downstream services. Individuals downstream of the dam, including those at the Barnum Recreation Area and stilling basin, should immediately vacate the river when they hear the siren. When consecutive releases are needed, Jennings Randolph Lake project staff will sound the warning system for each of those releases.

Water Management Info

Baltimore District's Water Management team provides a three-day forecast website for anticipated releases from Jennings Randolph and Savage River dams. The Corps' highly recommends all recreational users monitor the three-day forecast website or call 410-962-7687 to obtain updated release information. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Collapse All Expand All
 Q1: What is the purpose of the releases?

Releases from JRL dam are part of the normal regulation of the reservoir. Releases from the dam are made for a variety of reasons: to support flood risk management, water supply, recreation and environmental stewardship missions of the project. 

 Q2: When will the siren be triggered? Is it for all flow releases?

The siren will be triggered when increased releases need to be made from the dam, which will lead to flows or flow increases that are unsafe for recreation. 

 Q3: Will the siren be tested to ensure it will work properly?

The Jennings Randolph project staff will conduct maintenance on the warning system on a monthly basis. This will include a cleaning inspection and systems check to ensure that the system is working properly. The siren will also be tested during this monthly maintenance. The sounding of the siren test is a low pitch - visitors shouldn’t hear the testing sound unless they are within 100 feet of the warning system. If visitors do hear the siren test, they should still vacate the river immediately when the siren test is activated, as if a release has occurred.

 Q4: How long does the public have between the siren and the releases?

The public should immediately vacate the river upon hearing the siren. 

 Q5: How long does the siren sound for? What does it sound like?

Each sounding of the siren will include a three-minute duration during which a wailing sound will be made. The siren will wail at a high frequency for six seconds and then at a low frequency for six seconds, repeating that cycle continuously for the full three-minute duration. 

 Q6: What happens if people don’t decide to leave the area?

Not evacuating the river when the siren is sounded will put public users at risk for unsafe conditions in the river that include high water flow and high water velocities.

 Q7: What is the range or area of evacuation?

Under typical circumstances, when the siren is sounded, public users should evacuate the river and its channel immediately to higher ground along the river banks. 

 Q8: How do you plan to educate the public?

The Army Corps of Engineers will continue to reach out to its local community and neighbors near the project site to discuss the system and hand out informational brochures. Brochures will also be provided on the Barnum Recreation Area bulletin board for patrons to get more informed. The Army Corps encourages public users and residents to monitor Jennings Randolph website, in the event there is an update to the system. Red warning signs are also placed around recreation and downstream areas.

The Corps recommends that users still monitor the North Branch Potomac River and Savage River Forecast website or call 410-962-7687 for a recorded message to obtain release information, updated at least once a day. 

Sign to Look Out For

Red warning signs are placed around recreation and downstream areas. These signs remind public users to leave the river immediately due to increasing water levels, which, if not avoided, may pose a significant risk to their safety.