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Lake Wateree residents deal with flooding

Posted: May 9, 2013 5:10 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Johnny Deal/C-I

Boaters on Lake Wateree found it difficult to launch their boats because of the flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the feeder lakes in the upper Catawba River Basin.

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Several Lake Wateree residents reported that their docks were underwater or inaccessible due to high lake levels Thursday. Duke Energy, which operates dams along the Catawba River basin, of which Lake Wateree is a part, alerted residents earlier this week to prepare for the rising water. It said significant rainfall had led the company to open spillways and floodgates along the chain so that water could flow at a “measured pace” to protect low-lying homes.

Camden High School Athletic Director and Lake Wateree resident Jimmy Neal said his floating dock was still intact but that he was not able to access it due to his yard being flooded. Neal said this might be the highest he’s ever seen the lake and that non floating docks are only visible by the poles sticking up out of the water.

“The water is up,” Neal said.

Camden Resident Kim Morgan, who also has a house at the lake, said that the dock at her house is “way under.”

Rickie Tiller said that his yard and dock at the lake were also covered by water.

Kershaw County Fire Marshal and Emergency Preparedness Director Gene Faulkenberry reported Wednesday that all five hydroelectric units at the Lake Wateree Dam north of Camden Dam were operating to pull water from the lake. Faulkenberry said he has been receiving updates from Duke Energy by the hour regarding the lake levels and happenings.

He said residents of the area had heeded Duke Energy’s warnings and pulled their houses, trailers and boats away from the water.

Although many residents seemed to be missing their docks after Lake Wateree’s waters rose, Faulkenberry said the flooding is only listed as minor and water levels should be back to normal around the beginning to middle of next week.

As of Thursday, Duke Energy only had one gate remaining open and said levels should have begun dropping late Thursday night or early this morning, Faulkenberry said. As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Lake Wateree was at 101.9 feet, nearly 2 feet above full pond or flood stage, or almost 5 feet above its target level of 97 feet.

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