Lake Hartwell's waters back below flood stage - FOX Carolina 21

Lake Hartwell's waters back below flood stage

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Hartwell Dam's gates opened Tuesday morning. (July 9, 2013/FOX Carolina) Hartwell Dam's gates opened Tuesday morning. (July 9, 2013/FOX Carolina)
An iWitness photo shows muddy shores and low lake levels at the dam. (July 5, 2009/FOX Carolina iWitness Shelley R.) An iWitness photo shows muddy shores and low lake levels at the dam. (July 5, 2009/FOX Carolina iWitness Shelley R.)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

After days of rain, Lake Hartwell water's have lowered some, allowing the dam's spillway gates to close.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake is at 664.5 feet which is within the lake's capacity, but only by a few inches.

If the lake reaches 665 feet again, the Corps will reopen the spillway gates in addition to the regular running of the turbines.

According to the National Weather Service, days of "epic" rain across the Upstate have left the ground saturated along with local bodies of water, including Lake Hartwell.

The lake reached the 665' level overnight Monday, requiring the gates to be opened about 4 a.m. Tuesday until later in the afternoon.

The last time Hartwell saw waters that high was April 8, 1964. And in recent years, the lake has seen record lows. The National Weather Service said the lake was 28 feet lower in 2008 than it was on Tuesday. An iWitness' photo from July 5, 2009 shows muddy shores and low lake levels along the dam.

The dam is located along the Savannah River at the South Carolina-Georgia line and creates Lake Hartwell.

"We also must consider the possibility of additional rainfall that could hit our area as tropical storm Chantal approaches the East Coast," said Corps hydrocologist Stan Simpson. "Flood risk reduction is a primary mission of the reservoirs."

The Corps said while the turbines are releasing more water than is normal for this time of year, everything is operating under normal guidelines and safety is their main concern. According to the Corps, the Savannah River Basin (which includes Hartwell) has received 600 percent of its normal rain for this time of year.

Docks and marinas will continue to see rising waters around the lake, according to forecasters. Many were already partially under water before Monday's heavy rain.

As a result of high water, the Corps closed several areas around the lake including all courtesy docks and most ramps along with the following areas:  

  • Long Point Recreation Area
  • Asbury Recreation Area
  • Georgia River Campground and Recreation Area
  • Singing Pines Recreation Area (Loop to shelter and ramp closed)
  • South Carolina River Recreation Area
  • Broyles Recreation Area (Shelter loop closed)
  • 12 Mile Recreation Area (Beach loop closed)
  • Springfield Campground sites 12-18 and 27-48
  • Oconee Point Campground sites 27, 41-42 and 61-67
  • Watsadler Campground sites 2-5, 8, 27 and 28

Anderson County and Hart County, GA, remain under a flood warning until further notice.

If you visit the lake, send your weather pics to iwitness@foxcarolina.com or upload them at http://iwitness.foxcarolina.com.

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