Surviving a Devastating Flood in Highland Falls, New York: On Sunday afternoon in Highland Falls ,New York three friends and a 5-year-old girl were caught off guard when heavy rain suddenly turned into something more ominous in Highland Falls, New York. Katharine Dagaev, 62, who had witnessed her fair share of rain and watched the nearby brook rise over the years, had never seen it reach such alarming heights before.
Despite her physical limitations due to a knee injury, Dagaev moved as fast as she could, grabbing her medication and some clothes before the water began seeping in under the door. Her attempts to block it with an old rug proved futile, leaving her and a friend who used a walker trapped inside.
Similar scenes were unfolding throughout the Hudson Valley region, as a powerful storm brought unfamiliar levels of rainfall. While residents watched anxiously as the water invaded their homes, they had no idea when or if help would arrive.
Dagaev looked outside and saw a shocking sight. It was as if a river had changed its course, flowing through the middle of the Weyant Green Apartments complex. The water continued to rise, moving swiftly towards Highland Brook and the Hudson River, and those small buildings stood in its path.
With most of the apartments housing seniors or low-income families, relatives tried to assist, but the rushing water made it impossible to reach the property. Even emergency responders were unable to access the area due to the flooded bridge.
Pat Flynn, a former mayor of Highland Falls,(New York) managed to reach the apartments in his vehicle with a friend. He witnessed elderly men and women seeking refuge in doorways as the water rose around them. He quickly came to the aid of a man with a cane, bracing against the strong currents that threatened to sweep them away
Aware that a single misstep could be fatal, Flynn encouraged the man, who reciprocated the motivation, shouting, “Let’s go! We can do this, come on!” They slowly made their way to higher ground while others called out for help, desperate to rescue their loved ones.
Meanwhile, a high school senior rushed from his mother’s apartment and assisted neighbors in crossing the water. He approached Dagaev’s window, but when he couldn’t physically help her, he offered words of encouragement.
Dagaev frantically called her friend Laurie Tautel, a county legislator, who was nearby attempting to secure state aid for the village. However, the floodwaters made it impossible for them to bridge the gap between them.
In a state of distress, Dagaev pleaded with Tautel to save her, fearing for her life. Tautel, positioned uphill, could only witness the rapid flow of water resembling white-water rapids surrounding the buildings. She prayed that they would remain intact.
Firefighters from Highland Falls and nearby West Point eventually arrived at the scene. They communicated with Dagaev and her friend through the window, assuring them that they would be rescued.
Dagaev described how she had to climb onto her coffee table, sit on the windowsill, and fall into the arms of the firefighters to be rescued. Her friend did the same. Thankfully, no lives were lost at the Weyant Green Apartments, although the apartments suffered significant damage and will be uninhabitable for months. However, everyone was evacuated safely.
Mr. Flynn, who not only served as a former mayor but also works as an ambulance driver in the village, was struck by the sense of order and calm that prevailed among the community before the professionals arrived. People came together to help those in need, demonstrating a spirit of cooperation and support.
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