The flooding in western Wilkes County Saturday night and Sunday were sharp reminders of W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir’s great importance and primary purpose: flood control.
The heavy rain Friday through Sunday wasn’t widespread in Wilkes, but it covered virtually the entire W. Kerr Scott Reservoir watershed. Longtime residents said floodwaters reached areas they had never seen flooded before.
There were reports of some parts of western Wilkes receiving about 15 inches of rain Friday through Sunday morning. A total of 2.5 inches of rain were recorded in one 20-minute period Saturday night in the Leatherwood development in Ferguson.
The bulk of the rain fell between Saturday afternoon and mid-morning Sunday.
It’s reasonable to assume the Wilkesboros would have experienced significant flooding if W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir hadn’t been there to absorb the impact of the rain, especially considering the Reddies River watershed also received heavy rainfall.
It’s unfortunate that trails, swimming beaches, most of the camping areas and other recreational facilities at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir will be closed for several more days during this peak period of the summer, but it appears to us that the Corps of Engineers skillfully utilized W. Kerr Scott Dam to prevent flooding downstream.