Raleigh residents prepare for Falls Lake release

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Engineers tell ABC11 they have no choice but to release the water and they're doing it gradually since the Neuse River is still too high in areas down east. (WTVD)

After recent rain, Ernie Behrle could kayak across the bridge on the Neuse River Greenway that runs behind his northern Raleigh home as four feet of water sat in his basement.

It's all dry now, but not for long depending on what happens upstream at a very full Falls Lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release water from the lake, that after rising 10 feet from the rain, sits only a few feet below the top of its dam.



They're trying to prevent it from spilling over by scheduling a release of 6,000 cubic feet per second on Wednesday.

To put that number in perspective, that's 45,000 gallons of water gushing out of the lake and into the Neuse River every second; similar to the amount of water in a 30 x 50 foot swimming pool.

"I don't care about water in the yard," said Behrle, while standing in his backyard in the River Landings neighborhood. "I live on the river. I expect that and that's fine. When they start talking 6,000, now they're telling us it's gonna be in our house. And I really think there should be some control on that. I mean they know homes are here."

Engineers tell ABC11 they have no choice but to release the water and they're doing it gradually since the Neuse River is still too high in areas down east.

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"The primary purpose of Falls Lake is flood risk management," explained USACE spokesperson Lisa Parker in a statement to ABC11. "Our responsibility is to operate Falls Dam to minimize flood risk in the overall interest of all communities in the Neuse River Basin. It is critical that we continue with planned increases to reduce vulnerabilities in the entire basin."

Parker went on to explain that with more rain events expected this week, higher releases are necessary to reduce the risk of uncontrolled releases.

While scheduled to release 6,000 cubic feet on Wednesday, she said it could change depending on their daily assessments of river levels.

Wendy Nessly, who lives in the Riverside neighborhood, had flooding behind her home last week and is anxious knowing that the water level could rise again due to a controlled release.

Flooding behind Riverside neighborhood after rain



"I just hope they do their calculations correctly," she said, looking at where the water line creeps toward her house during a flood event. "I don't know what they do or how they do it but that's just awfully close."

Since Behrle can't cash in on his flood insurance unless the water reaches his floor boards, all he can do is wait to watch the water rise and prepare for another round of mold mitigation in his basement.

"I have nothing else I can do," he said.

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