Heavy rain in areas to the north has led to swollen waterways in York County, washing out a bridge near Sharon and dumping a large amount of debris in Lake Wylie.
Excess water on the Catawba River also prompted Rock Hill officials to close River Park on Monday after trails, picnic areas and a kayak launch point were flooded overnight.
Not far from the flooded park, the Rock Hill Rescue Squad pulled five people from the Catawba River late Sunday night after a water release to control flooding on Lake Wylie caused the rivers waters to rise.
Five 18-year-olds who were camping on an island in the river just north of the Interstate 77 bridge were rescued, said Rock Hill Fire Department Battalion Chief Rusty Myers.
They were on the island just after 11 p.m. when they noticed water rising around them and called home for help, he said. Their families called 911 and emergency officials including rescue squad members and fire personnel rushed to the scene.
The river rescue is just another reminder that higher-than-normal water levels can be dangerous, Myers said, causing the Catawba and other river systems to move more swiftly than usual.
On Lake Wylie, boaters have been warned to stay off the water as large amounts of debris, swept from shorelines by high waters, float downstream from the South Fork River.
I suggest limiting boating for the next few days until the debris dissipates, said Sgt. Brent Mabry with the York County Sheriffs Office lake enforcement. Its not safe.
Safety issues include logs and branches and loose structures and watercraft, according to Duke Energy, which manages the lakes along the Catawba River.
Mabry, who has been with the sheriffs office for 10 years, said he has never seen so much debris in the water.
Were catching all the debris from flooding upstream in Lincoln and Gaston counties in North Carolina, he said. Were not sure how much is coming, but well get more before its over.
Michael Bradford has been boating on Lake Wylie for more than a decade, and he has never seen anything like Mondays debris clusters.
The lake looked like whole yards out there, he said.
In addition to larger debris, sticks and grasses also flow downstream, forming small islands.
There are no organizations that clean up such an incident on the lake, Mabry said, although lake enforcement officers try to pull out hazardous materials when possible.
Duke Energy plans to secure and remove large floating hazards to navigation, such as loose docks, piers or watercraft.
In Sharon, the state Department of Transportation plans to replace a bridge on Burris Road over Turkey Creek which was washed away Monday morning.
The bridge and sections of the road already had been closed and detours have been in place for a few weeks because officials expected the bridge to give way to recent water levels in the creek.
At Rock Hills River Park, pedestrian bridges on trails were still intact but covered with waist-high water as the Catawba River swelled over the weekend and water levels surged.
C.C. Williams, the citys outdoor recreation coordinator, expects normal activities in and around the river to begin again in a few weeks.
Water levels are measured in cubic feet per second.
The Catawba Rivers level fluctuates daily, Williams said, with a low level being 1,000 to 3,500 cubic feet.
Recent rainfall has caused river levels to change dramatically in just a few hours, he said, surging at times to 10,000 cubic feet.
If you stay upright (in a tube or boat), everythings OK, he said. But things happen quickly.
Anyone on the river should wear a life jacket and carry a whistle, he said.
Even people with years of experience in kayaking could find current water conditions perilous, Williams said, adding, its not a question of if youre going to swim, but when.
If the river continues to swell, he said, city officials might close the main trail at the Rock Hill Outdoor Center at Riverwalk.