Flood waters start to recede; cleanup begins along Catawba River

Credit: WataugaRoads.com

Flooding in Western Watauga County

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte & WCNC.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 9:30 AM

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- The water levels near the Catawba River have begun to recede Wednesday morning allowing victims to begin the slow clean up process.

Catawba County officials say 30 to 35 homes in the Lake Lookout Shoals area flooded due to heavy weekend rains making their way down the Catawba River.

(Click here to view flooding photos)

Duke Energy says the water levels in the area are receding and stabilizing.

Meanwhile, homeowners will spend Wednesday counting their losses and cleaning up.

Flooding destroyed the wood floors and carpet in Debbie Childers' house in the Carpenters Cove area of Lake Lookout Shoals, which has the worst flooding in the area.

"All of the flooring is going to have to come up because water is underneath it," Childers said.

The water line in her house is about knee-high.

"Some furniture that's going to try to be salvaged, don't know if we can," Childers said, "We have to get the house empty so we can start the drying process and have to go through everything and see what has to be thrown away, see what still remains good."

Duke Energy, which controls the dams and the Catawba River, says there's been more rain in the last few days than we've seen the last few months, and that’s causing a large flow down river.

James and Angie Moore live next to the Oxford Dam on the Alexander/Catawba County line. Their backyard looks more like an ocean than a river.

The couple plans to sleep next to their front door in case more rain causes the river to rise and they need a quick exit.

"Last night we had a blow-up mattress and put it in the living room and made sure we heard if somebody did come to evacuate us, and I assume we'll do the same thing tonight," said Angie Moore.

"I'm in a flood zone and that's all I've got. If we lost that, then we've lost everything," said James Moore.

Catawba County officials declared a state of emergency Monday in response to the flooding.  Emergency Management workers are doing damage assessments of flooded homes.  They plan to submit the information to the state and see if flood victims could be eligible for assistance.

GASTON COUNTY - MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Gaston County Emergency Management crews spent the day Tuesday keeping an eye on the flood waters with both a swift water rescue team and the Red Cross on standby.

The water went high enough that it flooded some basements in Mt.Holly and several parks were under water, including River Street Park in Mt. Holly and Goat Island Park in Cramerton.

At the Mt. Holly boat landing, residents kept stopping by to get a close look at the Catwaba River as it flowed out of its banks and into the parking lot. Along Nevins Cove, homeowner Danny Holliday spent the day pumping water out of his basement.

"I got about a foot in the basement," he said, "We're trying to get it lower."

When asked if he'd actually seen some of his own possessions floating by, Holliday replied, "Yes, the lawnmower, all my tools, just everything kind of getting wet."

As of Tuesday afternoon, emergency management said no homes on the Gaston side of the water had to be evacuated.

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