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Continuing rains prompt flood warning

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By The Staff

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the section of the Catawba/Wateree River basin that borders Lancaster County until Sunday, July 14.

Residents along Lake Wateree should be prepared for the possibility of minor and moderate flooding in the upcoming days.

The National Weather Service reported the water level of Lake Wateree at 100.7 feet at 3 a.m. Monday, July 8, which is above flood stage of 100 feet.

Duke Energy officials also reported early Monday the reservoir near Great Falls was near its “above full pond capacity.” 

Upstream, the area from Lake James through Lookout Shoals is spilling, or has a spillway gate partially open. Water continues to move through Lakes Norman and Mountain Island Lake is spilling open.

Also, Lake Wylie has a floodgate partially open and gates are partially open at Fishing and Cedar creeks.

Duke Energy meteorologists expected the level of Lake Wateree to crest at about 102.4 feet just after midnight Tuesday.

Roads along Beaver Creek flood at a water level of 102.5 feet.

Rain has fallen in this part of the state for 15 consecutive days, and the Weather Service sees no let-up in sight, with rain in the forecast throughout the week.

Lisa Hoffmann of Duke Energy, said Monday that every day for the past 10 days, some part of the Catawba River has received rainfall in amounts up to three inches. It’s starting to take its toll as the utility constantly moves water downstream to make room for additional rainfall in the forecast. 

Utility officials are reminding the public to heed warning signs posted in those areas and to avoid boating and swimming in them.

High water can sweep heavy debris into lakes and boaters should stay alert for partially submerged objects.

Three people were killed over the weekend on rain-swollen rivers in the region. One of those deaths involved a man whose boat hit a submerged log in the Wateree River near the bridge on U.S. 1 near Camden. 

Rick Jiran, district manager for Duke Energy, said Monday forecasters believe the water level at Lake Wateree will indeed climb to more than 102 feet. As gates are lowered upstream, those who live in that area will see a gradual decline. He said gates will be lowered, but not closed on Lake Wylie, Fishing Creek and Cedar Creek late Monday.

However, the water level at Lake Wateree is expected to stay around 102 feet for several days.

“It’s very important to understand that we will spill Lake Wateree for several days as we move as much water through the system as we can,” Jiran said. 

“Looking forward, you need to be aware there is a tropical storm developing and some early models suggest it could impact the Duke Energy service area,” he said.

Residents can check realtime lake levels and special updates 24 hours a day at www.duke-ener gy.com/lakes/levels.asp or at (800) 829-5253.