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Lowest Lake Norman Lake Levels

Lowest Lake Norman Lake Levels

If you are thinking about buying a Lake Norman waterfront or listing a Lake Norman waterfront home, you may be wondering, ‘how low does the lake level get?’

You would think this would be easy information to find.  You can easily access the 13 month history on Duke Energy’s website but it does not provide data beyond that.   After googling and searching through old news articles without a definitive answer, I reached out to Duke Energy’s Hydro Operations to get the answers.

So what is the lowest lake level on record for Lake Norman?  Drum roll please…….

Drum Roll


The lowest level on record for Lake Norman was 93.1 ft. in 2007. 

I want to point out that the lake level is based on a reading of a 100 ft at full pond which corresponds to the 760 typographical line.   Think of it this way, at 93.1 ft the lake was 6.9 feet lower then when it is full.   We created a video that further explains the Lake Norman lake level and the 760 line.

The chart below displays the lake levels from January 2008 to October 2019.  The blue lines are the actual levels and the red lines are the target levels.  Notice that it only dipped below 95’ in 2 of the last 12 years.  The lowest reading for those 2 years, October 2014 and January 2016, were during the second driest period on record when they bottomed out below 94’.  It’s important to note that lowest reading for each year are typically during the winter months when the target levels set by Duke Energy are lower. 

Lake Norman Lake Level History


Lake Norman Water Level History

For many, what’s most important is the lake levels during the recreational months.  From mid-March to October the target lake levels are from 96 ft to 98 ft.  I’ve added another chart below that marks the lake level during July. See the green lines.  Notice that in the last 12 summers the lake level has only gone below 98 ft during July during one year.  That year was 2014 during the dry period noted above.

I also found it interesting that the variation in the lake levels was a lot less over the last three years indicated by the tighter grouping of the blue line.  During this time period, the lake level was mostly above the target level set by Duke Energy.  This makes sense when you note that 2018 was the 5th wettest year on record and the Jan to Feb of 2019 was the 9th wettest Jan to Feb on record.

Lake Norman Lake Levels Boating Season


You do see a sharp drop in the lake level in October of 2019 which is unusual considering that Lake Norman experienced the 9th wettest Jan to Feb on record.  Personally, I think there were a few events that contributed to this level.  In June, after a tremendous amount of rain in 12 hours, the lake level reached its max level and as a result Duke Energy released a large amount of water from the damn which led to flooding on Mountain Island lake.  Then in September hurricane Dorian ripped through the Bahamas and as it moved up the east coast there was a potential for a large amount of rainfall in our area.  The lake level was dropped in anticipation.  The rain never materialized and then we experienced abnormally dry conditions.

You may also be interested in another related article, ‘What is Considered Deep Water on Lake Norman’.


















May to October












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Maximize Your Lake Norman Lakehouse

Maximize Your Lake Norman Lakehouse

Being in a lake house means being transported to a different world, away from the ordinary. By definition alone, a lake house is built to be charming, relaxing and rejuvenating, but there are small hacks you can apply that can bring increased delight to your property by the water.

Here are just a few ideas:

Optimize your colors.

Keep the theme of stunning nature flowing through your lake house with relevant colors. Experiment with shades and variations: blues capture the sky, greens to represent plants and trees, browns for earth tones, and rustic autumn colors like yellows, golds, reds and oranges for when the leaves fall.

Let the sunshine in.

Raise the shades! Add large picture/plate-glass windows and natural light wherever possible. The more of a complete 180-degree view you can accomplish (windows on all sides of the room), the brighter your living experience can be.

Bring in the outside.

Your lake house is more than likely surrounded by peaceful, beautiful woods. Bring some of it inside: tree bark, driftwood, potted plants and shrubs, dark-stained hardwood floors and plenty of flowers.

Bring out the inside.

Connect your walkways, patios and dog runs with dirt paths to make them easy to access. Line them with nature: potted plants and flower gardens.

Modern it up.

Even if your lake house is rustic and old-fashioned, the use of state-of-the art technical gadgets can invite pleasant surprises and also make life easier. Smart lighting and thermostats, bluetooth speaker sounds and large-screen TVs are welcome high-tech additions to country living. Try an outdoor movie projector for binging under the stars.

Mix it up.

Introduce different styles and trends to keep it kicky and informal. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your wall coverings, furniture textures, countertops, area rugs and lighting fixtures.

Think iron and wood.

These two materials lend themselves to the very definition of “rustic.” As basic as they are, they can look very sophisticated and cool when used on outdoor tables and chairs. Looks great as “no-frills.”

Sync up the imagery.

Your guests won’t forget they’re experiencing the joy of a lake house, but be sure to weave nautical and aquatic decor into your scheme: anchor logos, glass vases filled with seashells, illustrated fish and birds, sea ropes, water skis and main sails hung on the wall, and even navy trunks for storage of extra blankets and pillows.

Add sleeping space.

If you own a lake house, you never know when you are going to have surprise overnight guests. Make sure there are plenty of comfortable, inviting sleeping spaces. Hang cotton curtains to create privacy. You may consider inflatable beds that can be stored away when not needed.

Hang up the family.

As beautiful as your lake house can be, it’s going to be missing something if it’s not made truly yours. Place framed, happy family photos throughout to add to a personalized, joyous, warm atmosphere.

Bottom line

At your lake house, being outdoors does not mean you have to leave the outdoors outside! Use innovative, creative ways to further define your interior with a little help from Mother Nature.

Search Lake Norman Waterfront Homes

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The difference between Lake Wylie and Lake Norman

The Point Lake NormanIf you want to be close to Charlotte NC and live on the lake you have lakes to choose from:  Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake.  Lake Wylie and Lake Norman are the larger lakes so many people want to know the difference between the two.  I’ve spent a lot of time on the water on both Lake Norman and Lake Wylie but I haven’t ‘lived’ at Lake Wylie so I will share my thoughts with that important disclaimer.  If you have any additional insight,  I would love for you to share in the comment section below.

The biggest knock for years on Lake Wylie was the amenities.  In the past, there wasn’t a lot down there.  There was one waterfront restaurant, T-Bones and it was typically crowded for boaters.  They sold it a year or so ago and now it is Papa Doc’s Shore Club– I haven’t been there yet.  The area has grown and there are restaurants and breweries close by depending on where you are on the lake.
Lake Norman is a little over twice as big.  49.81 square miles vs 21 square miles.  Lake Norman has 533 miles of shoreline while Lake Wylie has 325 miles of shoreline.  Lake Wylie feels more like a really wide river so to speak and doesn’t have the expansive open water like Lake Norman does especially on the southern end.  Think of Lake Wylie like the stretch on Lake Norman from Kiser Island up past the 150 bridge.
Also many people notice a difference in water color between the two lakes with Lake Norman being clearer and more blue.   The water color on Lake Wylie is more akin to the water color on the northern area of Lake Norman which is not as clear after a rain or in the shallower sections.
Most people went to Lake Wylie because they could get more bang for their buck.  Property values on Lake Wylie have risen over the years and the actual cost will come down to location on the water, the view and size and quality of the home.
I’ve also had people tell me that you can hear more air traffic on Lake Wylie from the Charlotte Douglas airport.  However, I believe that depends more on where you buy because the section that I visit a lot has very little noise from airplanes.  (Side note:  parts or Mountain Island Lake are in the direct flight path so be aware of that if it’s a air traffic is a concern.)
Here are some side by side stats of Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake.


AttributesLake NormanLake WylieMountain Island Lake
Year Built196319041924
Shoreline520 Miles325 Miles61 Miles
Area32,475 Acres12,177 Acres3,281 Acres
Length33.6 Miles32 Miles14.7 Miles
Width (widest point)9 Miles5 Miles*2.5 Miles
Average Depth33.5 Feet23 Feet17.7 Feet
Maximum Depth130 Feet94 Feet58.4 Feet
Capacity3.4 Trillion Gallons8.75 Billion Gallons**
Full Pond Elevation760 Feet569 Feet647.5 Feet
Public Access Ramps2862
Public Parks411
*How wide is Lake Wylie?  5 miles is the width from the damn to the further point west.  However, this not a straight line of clear open water.  Using google maps, the widest section of uninterrupted water is 2.33 miles.
**Mountain Island Lake Capacity:  I could not find a number.  MIL is not damn controlled.
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Lake Norman News & Development

We are collecting articles about developments in the Lake Norman Area.  If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment.

Lincoln County passes 1 acre min lot size

Bank of London Building First US Headquarters in Charlotte

The Bank of London has just announced plans to build its first US headquarters right here in Charlotte, creating 350 new jobs with a total annual payroll of $33 million…READ MORE

Zillow Group still wants to help people quickly sell their home.

The Seattle real estate giant announced a partnership with Opendoor that allows home sellers on Zillow’s platform to request an instant cash offer from Opendoor, one of the leading “iBuyer” companies that aim to make real estate transactions more seamless.

Zillow last year decided to shut down its own iBuyer business, Zillow Offers, marking a surprising end to an ambitious home-flipping bet that resulted in a $405 million write-down and a 25% workforce reduction. Zillow was unable to accurately forecast the price of homes and said the business ultimately required too much capital.

Now, Zillow users will still be able to get an instant cash offer for their home, but the transaction is facilitated by Opendoor. Zillow will get a referral fee when a customer sells to Opendoor.

Zillow CEO Rich Barton said the deal expands the company’s addressable market, allowing it to create a suite of seller services.

“This isn’t just a lead-gen distribution deal,” Barton said on a call with analysts Thursday. “This is going to be a deep integration.”

Barton said Zillow will take advantage of the investment it made developing Zillow Offers. More from Barton on the call:

“We invested quite a bit of time and treasure and IQ figuring out how to integrate the cash offer into our home details page and our user flow, to attract sellers to interact with us. All of those learnings can be brought to bear on this partnership. It’s interesting because it involves deep integration of the Opendoor offering into our set of services. That gives us the opportunity to quarterback the process and introduce our customers who request an Opendoor cash offer to Premier Agents, mortgages, Zillow closing services, and a myriad of other things that we have our hands on.”

Homesellers will be able to compare the cash offer from Opendoor to a traditional open-market sale that can be facilitated by a real estate agent from Zillow’s Premier Agent program.

Customers “can evaluate their selling options and easily package it with other Zillow services to buy and finance their next home,” Zillow Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Wacksman said in a statement.

Opendoor reached a $62 million settlement this week with the FTC, which said the company used misleading marketing practices and deceived customers “into thinking that they could make more money selling their home to Opendoor than on the open market using the traditional sales process.”

(Bigstock Image)
Zillow says the partnership with Opendoor builds on its strategy to offer a “housing super app,” described by executives earlier this year as a digital experience that “connects all the fragmented pieces of the moving process and brings them together on one transaction.”

“Building out a suite of complementary seller offerings over time opens up meaningful opportunities for us across agent transactions and adjacent services like mortgage and title & escrow,” Barton wrote in a shareholders letter Thursday, which you can read below. “When it’s fully rolled out, this will create another way for Zillow to serve potential sellers across more than 50 U.S. markets, while growing our business in the capital-light manner we described when we exited iBuying.”

Founded in 2014, Opendoor went public in 2020 and reported revenue of $8 billion in 2021, up from $2.6 billion the year prior. It was one of the first to use the iBuyer model, which gives homesellers the certainty and immediacy of an all-cash offer in exchange for paying a fee. Redfin and Offerpad also have their own iBuyer businesses.

In addition to fees, which are similar to real estate commissions, Opendoor also makes money on the difference between what it buys and sells a home for. It also offers ancillary services including home repairs and mortgage. The company acquired Seattle startup last year. Its market capitalization is just below $3 billion, down from around $8 billion last year.

“For parents looking to upsize, a young professional moving for a new job, and millions of others who regularly use Zillow to explore their home selling options, we will provide them with the ability to move with a tap of a button,” Opendoor President Andrew Low Ah Kee said in a statement.

Zillow shares were down more than 10% Thursday after announcing its second quarter earnings report. Zillow’s stock is down nearly 40% this year. Its market capitalization is more than $9 billion.

Zillow 2Q22 Shareholders’ Letter by GeekWire on Scribd

Taylor Soper is GeekWire’s managing editor, responsible for coordinating the newsroom, planning coverage, and editing stories. A native of Portland, Ore., and graduate of the University of Washington, he was previously a GeekWire staff reporter, covering beats including startups and sports technology. Follow him @taylor_soper and email

Massive Lake Norman nature park to offer miles of hiking, biking. Here are details.

Outdoors enthusiasts from across the Charlotte region are the target market of a 606-acre nature park underway on the northern tip of Lake Norman.

Mountain Creek Park in Sherrills Ford will feature 19 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails when it opens next summer or early fall, along with kayaking and paddleboarding, picnic areas and a fishing pier.

The $8.5 million Catawba County park, on Little Mountain Road off N.C. 150, also will include dog parks, playgrounds, pickleball courts and a park office-educational center. The park is 40 miles from uptown Charlotte.

County Website with Design Info:

Habor Community Updates:

Proposed Development adjacent to the 150 bridge across the near The Blue Parrot.

Rezoning approved for proposed harbor community at Midway Marina

Habor Community Development

The Villages at Sherrills Ford

Development around the Villages at Sherrills Ford

Hwy 150 Expansion along the northern section of Lake Norman.

The project will be split into 2 parts.  The dividing line will be  near the Marshal Steam Plant.

Click image to see the pdf version

Hwy 150 Expansion

Highway expansion causes Mooresville businesses to close, relocate

Project Overview from NC DOT

Photos and Videos from NC DOT

Thousands of homes coming to eastern Lincoln County

Thousands of homes coming to eastern Lincoln County

New Subdivisions:
Fox Chase: 47 lots
Rock Creek: 150 lots
Sylvan Creek: 198 lots
Newton Crossing: 200 lots
Melwood: 200 lots
Westport Lakeside: 275 lots
Villages of Denver: 370 lots
Mariners Points: 80 lots
Canopy Creek: 152 lots
Killian Creek: 54 lots
Creek Park: 170 lots
Essex Homes: 215 lots
Wildbrook: 150 lots
Rivercross: 460 lots
Ingleside Farm: 422 lots
Trilogy: 1,250 lots
Carrington: 302 lots
Matthews-Heathers: 20 lots

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The Source of Lake Norman

Want to take an adventure to the start of the Catawba River Basin which includes Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Hickory, Lookout Shoals, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Wylie, Lake Wateree and then the Atlantic Ocean.

Catawba Falls, in the headwaters of the Catawba River, is a part of Pisgah National Forest. It is located in McDowell County near Old Fort, NC. You can visit via the trial, but parking is limited. Take Interstate 40’s Exit 73 in Old Fort, go southwest on State Road 1274 (Catawba River Road) and follow it about 3 miles to its end.

The Catawba basin drains 3343 square miles of western North Carolina through two rivers: the Catawba River and the South Fork Catawba River, each draining one of the two sub-basins. The South Fork Catawba sub-basin is the smaller of the two, draining 700 square miles of the total. The Catawba drains the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows for 242 miles to central South Carolina. The basin has over 3005 miles of streams. The South Fork Catawba River is south and west of the Catawba and merges with the Catawba at Lake Wylie near the South Carolina boarder. About one-third of the basin’s 45 inches of annual precipitation leaves the basin as streamflow.

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Lake Norman Damn

Lake Norman History

Lake Norman is an “inland sea” with a surface area of approximately 32,500 acres. It was named after former Duke Power president Norman Cocke, Lake Norman is the controlling lake in the Catawba Basin and is almost as large as the other ten lakes combined.

Elevation of Lake Norman NC at full pond is 760 feet. The water of Lake Norman provides electricity to the Piedmont Carolinas and recreation for residents and visitors. Lake Norman also provides a dependable supply of water to Lincoln County, Davidson, NC Mooresville NC, Charlotte Mecklenburg and Huntersville NC.

Catawba Falls is the Headwaters of the Catawba River Basin. This is the source of the water flow into Lake Norman. Catawba Falls – Source of Lake Norman.

The Great River was named after the people who lived by it, the Catawba Indians, known in their own language as the Kawahcatawbas, the people of the river.” As the settlers began moving into the fertile lands along the Catawba, they brought with them diseases from Europe that the Catawbas had no resistance to, and in less than 175 years, their population dwindled from over 5,000 to less than 400.

These settlers built their cabins and farmed the land beside the Catawba River, but before long they were drawn into battle against the British Crown. In 1781, General Cornwallis proclaimed to be a damned hornet’s nest of rebellion. At the battle site at Cowan’s Ford, General William Lee Davidson, along with a band of Catawba farmers were able to slow the advance of General Cornwallis. Early in the battle, General Davidson was shot and killed at the river bank. A monument honoring Davidson is located near the present site of Cowan’s Ford Dam, but the exact location of his demise is under the waters of Lake Norman.

After the United States became an independent nation and the Civil War left the people demoralized in spirit, the people along the Catawba were simply existing. Ambitious James B. Buck & Duke, president of the American Tobacco Company, saw a future in the textile industry in the Carolinas, using the waters of the Catawba to generate the power needed to provide clothing for a growing nation. Buck and his brother, Ben, set out to learn everything they could about hydroelectric power. Dr. W. Gill Wylie, who had already experimented with hydroelectric power in South Carolina with his Catawba Power Company, soon began discussions with the Duke Brothers while tending to their illnesses. Wylie introduced the Dukes to William S. Lee, a brilliant young engineer who was designing the Catawba Power Company’s dams and power plants. Wylie needed funding, and Duke needed power. Duke, Lee, and Wylie were looking at the larger picture. Electricity would attract business and industry to the region.

The Southern Power Company was formed, and William S. Lee’s dream of transforming an entire river valley into a hydroelectric system was coming true. In 1927, the Southern Power Company became the Duke Power Company, and by 1928, ten dams were completed with a dozen powerhouses, making the Catawba the world’s most electrified river. William Lee’s grandson, Bill Lee III, had the honor of designing and completing the one final dam which would be the largest undertaking of all, creating not only the largest lake in the Duke Power system but the largest lake in the Carolinas. Homes, family farms, and entire towns would end up under water. The village of Long Island, once a bustling river town with three textile mills, would be completely submerged. Some landowners refused to sell their land but traded it for land along the future lake. Those who kept it long enough did very well indeed. The groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1959. It took four years to finish the huge dam, and another two years to fill the lake. Named after retired Duke Power President, Norman Atwater Cocke, people predicted Lake Norman to be an inland sea. It is 34 miles long and eight miles across at its widest point. Its surface area of 32,500 acres has 520 miles of shoreline. Lake Norman is 760 feet above sea level, 130 feet deep at its deepest point, and holds 3.4 trillion gallons.

There are three generating plants on Lake Norman: Cowan’s Ford, the original power station; Marshall Steam Station, a coal-burning steam-electric generating station on NC 150; and the William B. McGuire Nuclear Station near the east abutment of Cowan’s Ford Dam.

Those who call Lake Norman the biggest thing to happen on a river since the flood of 1916 appreciates its contribution to flood control. Because the lake can handle enormous amounts of water flowing down from the mountains, the torrential rains of 1940 and 1970 did not create a terrorizing replay of the flood of 1916 which took lives, farms, homes, animals, crops, bridges and roads, and destroyed businesses that were never rebuilt.

The cities of Charlotte and Mooresville rely on Lake Norman for their dependable water supply. Duke’s professional foresters manage the quality of the water, plant nearly 1.8 million new trees on the land each year, stock the lake with fish, and regularly spray the shoreline with non-chemical light oil solution to control mosquitoes. A 2,135-acre water refuge was built below Cowan’s Ford Dam to shelter migratory ducks and geese in the winter. Duke Power provided 10 public access areas around the lake as well as 1,300 acres for Duke Power State Park.

There was a time when people stood on highways around the lake offering lake lots for sale for $1,000. There weren’t many takers back then. With the completion of I-77, the entire lake became more accessible to urban centers to the south and north. Slowly, development began creeping north to the part of the lake that had always been agricultural. Today in four counties that surround the lake, there are more than 25,000 residents who like calling Lake Norman home.

Source: Lake Norman Our Inland Sea, by Bill & Diana Gleasner, Inc., the Peninsula Press, Denver, NC


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Lake Norman Taxes

Lake Norman Tax Revaluation

You may have heard the buzz about the recent tax revaluation in the Lake Norman area. That’s due in large part because all four counties that border Lake Norman (Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln and Catawba County) under went a revaluation in 2019.

In North Carolina, counties are required to have a revaluation every eight years and those are staggered so that all 100 counties do not have a revaluation in the same year. In 2019, 27 counties had a revaluation including all the counties around the Lake. Counties do have the option to complete a revaluation more frequently with every four years being the most common.

Mecklenburg County which includes the Lake Norman towns of Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson got a lot of press about the increases in property values. One important fact that is often left out of the discussion is the date of the last revaluation. In Mecklenburg County, the last revaluation was in 2011. This area has experienced tremendous growth and property appreciation during the last eight years. Iredell, Lincoln and Catawba completed a revaluation in 2015. As a result, the change was not as dramatic.

Property Tax

When will the new tax values impact property taxes?

For each county, the tax period runs congruently with their fiscal year which is from July 1st to June 31st. Typically, the property tax is based on the value as of January 1st of the same year. However, the 2019 tax bill will be based on the value established by the revaluation regardless of when the final value was agreed upon. Once the tax rate is set by the end of June, tax bills will be issued. Tax bills are due and payable on September 1st. However, you have until early January to pay without an interest penalty. That ‘no penalty’ date for each county is as follows:



  • No Penalty Date
  • Mecklenburg County: January 7th More Info
  • Iredell County: January 5th the following Year More Info
  • Lincoln County: January 5th the following Year (January 6th this year*) More Info
  • Catawba County: January 5th the following Year More Info
  • *Should January 5th fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the payment period is extended to the next business day.

Did you know?

  • Lincoln County gives a 2% discount if taxes are paid from July 1 through August 31.
  • In Mecklenburg County, delinquent taxpayers are advertised in the Charlotte Observer in March or April.

Thinking about new construction? We often get questions about the taxes for a newly built home. Who pays the taxes, the builder or the buyer? When is the tax value established? When does the asset convert from land value to both land and home value? Read Property Taxes Questions on New Home Construction

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