No warning for residents about record high water on Watauga Lake - WRBL

No warning for residents about record high water on Watauga Lake

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BUTLER, TN (WJHL) -

For a second night in a row, history is being made along the banks of the Watauga Reservoir. The lake level has never been higher, up almost an inch and a half since last night.

The reason -  days of heavy rain in the mountains combined by a calculated plan by the TVA to prevent flooding downstream.

News Channel 11 found out people who live along the banks of a lake built to prevent flooding are dealing with the consequences like never before.

This is not what homeowners imagined when they got lake front property on Watauga Lake.

"We've had droughts. We've had the water be so low that we can't even walk down the docks to get to our boats," said homeowner at Pioneer Landing, Jenny Campbell, "not this year, this is by far the worst and the highest the water has ever been."

Johnson and Carter County residents said they weren't told by Tennessee Valley Authority that they should be on the lookout for high water, but locals say they saw it coming.

"No, we were not warned that it was going to happen," said Butler resident Anna Dugger. "Other than the fact that there was flash floods in North Carolina. When that happens in North Carolina, that water comes in to Watauga Lake."

And right now Watagua Lake is six feet higher than normal.

"The water has gotten higher and higher and they said they were bringing them down and they never did and it's gone up and up," said Campbell.

If the water gets any higher more homeowners are looking at having water damage.

Bayview Family Campground owner Stephen Bentley said, "right now we're still good. Hopefully, the lake will not come up any more, but if it does then we will have some problems."

Which concerns those living in the area like Dugger, "we're supposed to get more rain on Saturday and Sunday and they can't pull that much out at a time because Watauga River going through Elizabethton."

But the TVA said it will continue to release water downstream to prevent any further flooding.

This is new territory for people who live along Watauga Lake. Bentley said his campground was purposefully built one inch above what he thought was the maximum capacity for Watauga Reservoir, but as you know his property is under water.

News Channel 11 checked TVA's website, no warning posted about flooding along the banks of the lake. We also called the TVA to see if there's a system for warning residents. We're still waiting for that call back.

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