COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Last week North Carolina and parts of the Upstate saw massive amounts of rain, creating deadly flash flooding.
Over the last few days, that water has made its way down the Catawba River and Lake Wateree residents are now dealing with after effects. With the lake five feet higher than its normal levels, the water has left docks underwater, and houses and roads right on the water’s edge
For Michael Thomas, who’s lived on Lake Wateree for over 5 decades, this flooding and the cleanup that comes afterward has become a way of life.
“It’s always a trash detail afterwards, picking up debris and stuff,” Thomas said.
Thomas said his dock goes underwater a few times a year. Some residents said it’s a problem that’s occurring more and more frequently.
“It seems like every time it rains in Charlotte, we get this,” Lake Wateree Association Spokesperson and resident Johnny Deal, said. “It didn’t use to happen every time, but it’s starting to happen every time. I attribute it to the growth in Charlotte.”
This is the third time Lake Wateree residents have experienced major flooding this year alone, with water levels up several feet over the 100 foot capacity.
“When it gets above 100 it does cause problems for people,” Lake Wateree resident June Greenlaw said. “It’s happened to us I think 3 times in 16 months. It’s a little crazy, but we take the good with the bad.”
Residents said the flooding involves days to weeks of trash and debris cleanup.
“Everything upstream comes down here, and lands in someone’s yard, so we all have just days of cleanup,” Greenlaw said.
“If the wind blows it into your property, you could fill up a couple dump trucks easily,” Thomas said.
They also said they spend days searching for missing items or having to replace other items ruined by water damage.
“The smaller ones, they bring as much mess as the bigger ones sometimes,” Thomas said.
Deal said that Duke Energy has informed residents they plan to install a flood gate or bladder dam to the Lake Wateree Dam in 2022, which will reduce some of the flooding problems.