**For an update on Lake Norman’s drought 2015 go to: Caution: Lake Norman Water Levels Unusually Low Due to Drought
If you live on Lake Norman I don’t have to tell you that our lake levels have been uncharacteristically low since late summer; dropping down to 95.0′ on September 17th which is a full 3 feet lower than our summer “target” levels of 98 feet. And, you most probably have also noticed a sudden increase starting on November 16th bringing us up to our current level of 98.7 feet!
I must admit I am baffled as to why Duke Energy, who manages our Lake Norman water levels, decided to drop them fairly suddenly during a time when our “target” levels were 98 feet and we were not in a drought. One guess is that they were worried about the potential for Hurricane Irene’s high rain levels. If any of you all know more, please leave a comment!
For those of you who are new to Lake Norman, the very best resource regarding Lake Norman water levels bar none is Duke Energy’s Check Lake Norman Water Levels website which Duke Energy updates daily. On this site you can get the actual lake levels of all 11 lakes that are part of the Catawba River System as well as the “target”” Lake Norman water level for that day, the minimum , maximum, range and any lake message updates. They also provide a schedule of flow releases and other related data.
Lake Norman is a result of the damming of the Catawba River back in 1963 when the Cowans Ford Dam was completed. It is part of Duke Energy’s power resources and provides electricity to the Piedmont Carolinas by using the McGuire Nuclear Station and the Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station at the south end of the lake and the Marshall Steam Plant on the west side at Highway 150. The water levels are controlled by Duke Energy and normally vary less than 5 feet.
The maximum level is called “full pond” which is 760 feet above sea level. Duke Energy considers full pond to be the “the point at which the water begins to spill over the flood gate spillway.” You will sometimes hear waterfront homeowners refer to the “760 line”.
On the Lake Norman Water Level charts, full pond is considered 100.0 feet. Duke Energy purposely lowers water levels seasonally to anticipate rain or melting of the winter snows that feed the entire Catawba River system.
If you want to see today’s 13-Month Lake Level History chart for Lake Norman on Duke Energy’s website you can see the daily water levels for the past year.
All I know is the lake looks awesome!