Local News

Kerr Lake flooding prompts road closures

Posted February 12, 2010 5:21 p.m. EST
Updated February 13, 2010 1:47 p.m. EST

— Recent rains and snow have flooded areas bordering Kerr Lake, forcing the closure of some roads and boat ramps.

Officials said the amount of water flowing into the lake on the North Carolina-Virginia border the highest it's been in the lake's history, and the lake level is about 15 feet higher than the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the lake, would like.

Kerr Lake is a flood-control lake, so the corps must regulate how much water is released downstream into Lake Gaston and the Roanoke River.

"There's a little bit of frustration with the closure of boat ramps and other facilities," said Bryce Fleming, superintendent of the state recreation area at the lake.

"In the winter like this, normally we don't have this kind of situation," said Scott Hughes, who owns Satterwhite Point Marina.

Hughes said he has had to keep a close watch on the flooding and has been checking on all of the boats at the marina to ensure they aren't damaged.

"It's pretty bad. We hate to see it when it gets up to this level," he said.

Some roads and bridges near the lake are barely above water, while some parking lots look like they could be used as a place to swim.

"It's the worst I've seen it since we've been up here in two-and-a-half years," resident Bruce Henderson said.

The high water means that debris that normally would be on land is in the water, which could pose hazards for boaters.

Fleming said that it will take several weeks to clean up the debris after water levels drop.

Longtime Kerr Lake residents like John van Venrooy said they're used to the flooding.

"The tradeoff to be on the lake versus the inconvenience of occasional flooding is a nice one," van Venrooy said.