High Water and Dam Safety

We generate electricity using the flow of water. This means that water levels and flows in the lakes and rivers around our dams and generating facilities can change rapidly without warning. We work closely with local, county and state emergency management officials during high water and flooding conditions to provide information to help ensure they can make appropriate public action decisions. 

If you have questions about what actions you should take during such events, please review the information below, contact your local county emergency management office and visit ready.gov

For the latest, most up-to-date lake information:
  • Be aware of where the dam and spillway are located on a lake or river. Watch for rising water levels. 
  • Know where higher ground is and move there quickly if you see or hear rapidly rising water.
  • Obey all warning signs and keep out of restricted areas. 
  • Supervise children at all times. 
  • Be especially cautious at night, the time of day most difficult to recognize the dangers.
  • Look for unusual swirling currents that can pull boats and people toward the dam and under the water.
  • Watch for strong currents, wear life jackets and stay alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Stay alert for partially submerged objects. High water can sweep heavy debris into the lakes.
Residents living along lakes, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone areas may be at risk of high water and flooding during heavy rainfall events.    
  • Know your area’s flood risk. Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and locations for emergency shelters. 
  • Listen to local radio or television stations for possible flooding information, as well as NOAA weather radio for watch and warning bulletins.
  • Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the flood strikes.
  • Turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box if rising water threatens your home or if you must evacuate your home. 
  • Turn off natural gas and water supplies.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. DO NOT drive over or stand near downed power lines. Electric current passes easily through water.
  • Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands or while standing on a wet or damp surface.
  • Do not try to drive through flooded areas; most flood-related deaths occur in automobiles.
  • If your home or business is flooded, Duke Energy cannot reconnect power until the electrical system has been inspected by a licensed electrician. If there is damage, an electrician will need to make necessary repairs and obtain verification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored.
2020 Siren test dates: January 8, April 8, July 8, October 14.

Duke Energy is proud to be part of the communities we serve, and we’re committed to being a safe and reliable neighbor. Because of the proximity of some residents living immediately downstream of the Bridgewater, Rhodhiss, Mountain Island, Wylie, 99 Islands, Nantahala, Queens Creek, Wolf Creek, Tanasee Creek and Walters dams, warning sirens are sounded to provide initial notification for evacuation in the event of a dam failure.  

Tailrace warning horns are also installed at the powerhouse to notify people boating or fishing immediately downstream of normal flow releases. Normal flow releases are for generation or recreation purposes only and do not affect downstream residents.

Listen to the warning sirens and horns.

We periodically conduct maintenance test to ensure the sirens work properly. Siren tests will sound for three minutes. During this time, no public action is necessary. In an actual emergency, sirens would sound continuously. Area residents are advised to relocate immediately to higher ground and tune to local news media for further instructions from local emergency management agencies.
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