Duke Energy work has Lookout Shoals Lake homeowners watching lake levels

Duke working on hydroelectric plant

LOOKOUT SHOALS LAKE, N.C. (WBTV) - Just three weeks after serious flooding damaged homes along the shores of Lookout Shoals Lake in Catawba County, Duke Energy is advising residents to be watching for high water again.

Two of three generator turbines at the hydro-electric plant at the dam on the south side of the lake will need to be shut down as maintenance and repair work is done. The turbines are part of the process used to control lake levels. With two shut down and only a low-flow turbine left, controlling the lake level will be a challenge, said Duke Energy officials.

The only other way to draw the level down is for the water to go over the spillway. The lake level is down to the 97 foot mark, which is considered the target level. Flood stage would be above 100 feet.

Duke Energy spokesperson Kim Crawford says there should not be any serious problems as long as there are no major weather events. An ad placed in local newspapers indicates the lake level could rise to 2 feet above flood stage during the work but urges residents to monitor the situation carefully.

The work on the turbines will begin Monday and last through August 5.

Mike Walsh says over six feet of water came into the lower level of his home last month and says Duke Energy did not manage that flood event well. He is concerned that the company has not done enough this time either.

“If we get a lot of rain, yeah, it’s gonna come up and flood us again,” he said.

Neighbor Norman Riddle hopes Duke Energy will go beyond the 97 foot target level.

“If they could take it down to 93, or 94, that might help prevent any flooding,” Riddle said.

Crawford says Duke will be checking levels closely and will do what it can.

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