Heavy rains across the region closed schools and a number of Catawba County roads Monday.

Catawba County Schools were closed. Newton-Conover Schools operated on a two-hour delay.

Kool Park Road was closed on Monday due to damage to a bridge on the highway. Deputy Chief Josh Randolph of the St. Stephens Fire Department and volunteer firefighter Bobby Hedrick were replacing the signs and barriers on the road Monday morning. Randolph said that crossing the bridge could risk it collapsing, but people keep moving the road closed barriers and driving across the bridge. Randolph said Snow Creek Road and 16th Street Drive are also closed due to damage from the weekend rains.

Those storms dropped nearly 5 inches of rain on the county, according to the National Weather Service readings at Hickory Regional Airport.

The United States Geological Survey rain gauge in Claremont recorded 8.7 inches of rain in the past week. The rain gauge in Granite Falls topped 9 inches.

The rains also flooded yards, moved storage sheds, dropped trees and cleared a number of homes of outdoors items, such as trash cans.

And the waters left Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, and Lookout Shoals Lake above full pond and Hickory at full pond.

Monday morning, Duke Energy posted the following on the company website:

The Catawba River Basin is experiencing significant inflows from the recent rainfall. The Hickory area received more than 11 inches of rainfall causing local flooding. The Duke Energy hydro operations team is aggressively moving water through the river system. Lake James is spilling but is not expected to exceed 103 feet. Lake Rhodhiss is spilling but is not expected to exceed 105 feet. Oxford hydro (dam) has floodgates open for lake management. Lookout Shoals Lake is spilling. The lake level crested at 108.2 feet and is declining. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of St. Stephens Deputy Chief Josh Randolph.

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