'It was devastating' | Residents return to homes after Mountain Island Lake flooding

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People living near Mountain Island Lake and the Catawba River are cleaning up after the weekend’s flooding.

The lake reached its second highest level on record at more than 106 feet.

RELATED: Mountain Island Lake reaches 2nd highest level in history

The flooding tore off docks and left homes with severe water damage to the structures and property inside.

Tuesday, people living along Lake Drive started the cleanup process as county code enforcement assessed the damage.

Susan Covington’s home was deemed “unsafe.” Now she’s trying to save and dry out what she can.

“Few pictures on the walls,” Covington said, “You know, my clothes, some furniture, a few pieces, anything from waist up, dishes.”

Covington said she left her home Sunday morning, not realizing that the newly-remodeled house she just moved into three weeks ago would never look the same.

“It was devastating,” she said. “I mean just devastating. Everything, I thought somebody had broken into the house because things were turned over, and the trash cans had spilled out. It was just a muddy mess.”

She said she didn’t even have a chance to save some of her most valuable possessions.

She said she would’ve done things differently if she had a warning.

“I may have at least packed up pictures, videos, mementos, important things,” she said.

Erik Jentresen, another resident of Lake Drive, said he kept watching the water levels rise on Sunday, but had no idea it would get as bad as it did until water started coming inside his home.

“It was happening so fast that we really just needed to get ourselves and the dogs out and away,” Jentresen said.

He not only had major damage to his house, his dock, and a raised garden that lost its wooden frame, but he also lost thousands of dollars worth in art, rugs, and valuables.

Jentresen said he didn’t receive any kind of text or message warning him of the rising water level, which he said could have given him time to move items out of the house.

‘It would have made common sense to warn residents,” he said, “What time it was going to happen and how much they anticipated. That would have given a lot of people a lot of extra time to save stuff. I mean the siren that’s directly across from our house never even went off.”

RELATED: Duke Energy responds to criticism from flood victims

A spokesperson for Duke Energy responded to NBC Charlotte’s request for comment with the following message:

“Based on meteorological forecasts for heavy rains for the Carolinas, the Duke Energy Hydro operations team began moving water on Wednesday, June 5, through the 11 reservoirs along the Catawba-Wateree river basin. We move water proactively to manage, as much as possible, the effects of heavy rain on the lakes and rivers, even though it is difficult to predict precisely where rain will fall.

On Thursday, June 6, the Duke Energy Hydro operations team began posting messages on the Duke Energy lake line, the lake web page and Lake View mobile app.  These messages were, and continue to be, updated multiple times each day. In addition, beginning on June 6, our district managers began providing real-time information to local emergency management officials of the potential for high water conditions to allow them to prepare and make appropriate notifications to residents.

The sirens located around our dams are designed to alert residents in the event of a dam failure.  They are not used to notify residents of high water situations. Emergency management officials are responsible for making public safety notifications.”

Duke Energy has information available on its web page, via the lake line at 800-829-5253, and on the Lake View mobile app.


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