Just the facts about Lake Norman, Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Lake Norman photos, paddleboarding, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman, sailing

June is here and Lake Norman is OPEN

June is here and Lake Norman is OPEN for lake lovers! Lake Norman is known as a haven for water sports and recreation, and this is one thing that hasn’t changed! No matter how you personally like to enjoy the water, Lake Norman has a place just for you.

This month’s June Calendar image illustrates just one of many lake activities: paddleboarding!  This activity is a wonderful way to experience the lake and exercise too. Paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing are boating activities that can be explored anywhere on Lake Norman.  Weekdays, or early morning or late afternoons on the weekends, are often the best times to find “still” water and active wildlife which make these activities most enjoyable.  If you don’t have your own vessel, no worries, there are many rental options available around the lake too.

Although paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing aren’t motorized boating activities, they are still governed by boating laws. The main rules to remember for non-motorized watercraft are:  Each vessel needs a PFD for each passenger. Children under 13 must wear their PFD while underway. Have a whistle on hand for emergencies. Don’t stay out after sunset. For a brochure of all of the NC Vessel Operator rules, click here to the link to the NC Wildlife’s brochure.

However, not all parts of the lake are suitable for all activities.  Due to bridge heights, some areas are not best for sailboats with fixed masts, and during times of high lake levels, some smaller bridges are not accessible to motorboats either. The Lake Norman Marine Commission’s site lists all of Lake Norman’s bridge heights at full pond.  It is important for all boaters to know the lake levels and understand the lake geography before exploring new areas.  When the lake is at lower levels, which usually is during peak energy demands in the summer, shoals or shallow areas become serious lake hazards to be avoided. Duke Energy, which manages all of the Catawba River basin lakes and shorelines has a robust website with links to many informative sites.  One of which is their lake level page, where you will find up to date information on the lake levels for all of the lakes managed by Duke Energy. As of today, Lake Norman is at 98.7, which is 1.3 feet below full pond. Lake Norman is part of the Catawba-Wateree system of lakes created through damming the Catawba River.  These lakes are James, Rhodhiss, Hickory, Lookout Shoals, Norman, Mountain Island, Wylie, Fishing Creek, Rocky Creek and Wateree.  As stated on Duke Energy’s site, “These lakes and dams provide benefits that are balanced among the individual needs of several communities, including:

  • Municipal water supplies
  • Industrial and power plant water uses
  • Daily release requirements and drought mitigation
  • Wildlife habitat and aquatic environments
  • Recreation (fishing, boating, skiing, docks, etc.)
  • Each lake directly affects the other lakes in its system. To manage the level of one lake, Duke Energy must examine the levels and requirements at each of the other lakes in the system and respond accordingly.”

In addition to lake levels, lake enthusiasts should also be mindful of water quality, especially when swimming or jumping in to cool off on a hot summer day.  The Catawba Riverkeepers have implemented an extremely useful swim guide to help swimmers know where to swim safely at Lake Norman and in our surrounding lakes.  For more information, visit https://www.catawbariverkeeper.org/swim-guide/

If you’d like to learn more about Lake Norman’s recreational options or anything else about the lake, please let us know, we’ll be happy to help!

Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman water levels are high again! Updated Jan. 5th 2018

lake norman water levels when high

Duke Energy just released the warning below with an update and caution due to yet another storm that arrived today. Due to our unusually high amounts of rain and snow, our Lake Norman water levels have been unusually high this past month.  100′ is full pond so at 98.6 we have some wiggle room but based upon the Duke Energy warning below, we can expect increasing lake water levels for the next few days at least. To get an idea of what it looks like when Lake Norman is a “full pond”  I took this photo a few years ago when it was at full pond and as  you can see even the dock is slightly under water!

Here is the official update from Duke Energy from today, January 5th.

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Lake Levels: Important Update 4/5/2017

Lake Norman Lake Levels down

4/25/2017 Update:  I just checked and Lake Norman’s lake levels are up to 99.4′ thanks to our significant rainfall in the past few days.  Duke Energy provided updates for smaller lakes with some potential for flooding: Duke Energy Site.  They did not include Lake Norman or Lake Wylie in this warning. 

Duke Energy posted this important update for Lake Norman on April 3rd:

03-APR-17 Lake Normans elevation is expected to be lower than customary this year from mid April through early June. This is in part due to the Catawba River Basin being in a Low Inflow Protocol LIP drought Stage 1. Planned maintenance work at McGuire Nuclear Station requires the elevation not to exceed 96.5 ft. Once the outage is completed, we may be able to move the elevation closer toward the late spring target level of 98 ft weather permitting. Please be aware these projections can change based on actual rainfall and changes to the drought stage. Please stay alert to changing weather conditions. Updated lake levels are available any time at http://www.duke-energy.com/lakes/levels.asp and at 800-829-5253.

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman under Stage 1 Drought Conditions

Lake Norman Lake Levels down

Our Lake Norman area as well as most of western North Carolina experienced a summer of higher than normal temperatures and lower than average rainfall.  The result is a drop in our lake levels a Stage 1 drought condition declared by Duke Energy which limits the use of lake water for irrigation.  Here is the latest update from Duke Energy’s’ Website:

Lake Norman

01-NOV-16 Long-term dry weather conditions have resulted in the implementation of Stage 1 drought conditions for the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. The community is asked to be mindful of its water use and consider conserving energy which also saves water. Residents who use water from a Duke Energy lake for lawn irrigation are asked to limit watering to Tuesdays and Saturdays. Updated lake levels are available any time at www.Duke-Energy.com/lakes or by calling 800-829-5253. As always, we encourage those living along lakes, streams and other low-lying and flood prone areas to pay special attention to changing weather conditions and take any necessary precautions. We will provide updates if conditions change.

94.5 ft.

As of 11/10/2016 at 09:37AM

If you want to keep up with this or want to check Lake Norman’s lake levels just go to the Duke Energy website.  Hopefully we will get some rain soon!

Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman water levels up and rising!

Wow,  Lake Norman’s drought is over thanks to a series of large storms that are still hammering the east coast.  Our lake levels were as low as 93.6′ at the peak of the drought in late summer.  The photo below was taken on September 9, 2015

Lake Norman Shoreline during the drought

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Just the facts about Lake Norman, lake norman real estate

Why are Lake Norman’s water levels so low in February?

Lake Norman waterfront shoreline in  February

Isn’t it reassuring to know that Duke Energy, who controls Lake Norman’s water levels, has a well designed plan which is monitored daily?  I took this photo today while showing waterfront properties because you can clearly see the different colors of the shoreline riprap which mark the high, medium and lowest lake levels.  The orangish layer closest to the water is under water most of the year. Looking at this, newcomers might think that the lake is abnormally low right now which is true.  However, if all goes as planned February should have the lowest water levels of the year according to Duke Energy.  In fact, today, at 95.7, we are actually a foot above our “target” of 94.5.  The winter draw down of water levels helps us prepare for the spring runoff from the melting snow in the mountains. Continue reading

Just the facts about Lake Norman

Lake Norman water levels are down but only temporarily!


**For an update on our 2015 lake levels go to:  https://bestrealestatelakenorman.com/caution-lake-norman-water-levels-unusually-low-due-to-drought 

If you live on Lake Norman you can’t help but notice that the water levels have lowered fairly suddenly by about 2 feet which is VERY unusual.  Well, it turns out, according to an update on 9/11/12 on the Duke Energy website, that:

Duke Energy is operating Lake Norman at or below 96.5 feet to support temporary maintenance work at McGuire Nuclear Station through mid-October. This is lower than our target level for this time of year of 98 feet but is within the normal operating range.

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