Remembering Tropical Storm Irene, 5 years later

ROTTERDAM JUNCTION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Five years ago Hurricane Irene entered New York as a tropical storm, killing ten people in the state and flooding and destroying areas throughout the Capital Region.

An American flag in front of the home of the Hladik family say under water for several days after Irene. Luckily it made it through.

Sunday, five years later, the Hladik’s finally put the flag back up. Though still covered in mud, it’s standing as tall as ever.

“It’s a symbol to keep going,” says Keri Hladik.

Every day Keri and Daniel Hladik see the mark on a utility pole in front of their house, reminding them just how much water 14 feet really is.

“That’s how high the water was, but we’re still here,” said Kerri.

“We made it through that, we can make it through anything,” Daniel added.

The Hladik’s say the marker on the pole gives them motivation, five years after Tropical Storm Irene flooded their neighborhood in Rotterdam Junction.

“The river’s almost a mile away. You could hear it and it was just the air was rumbling it was so loud,” recalls Daniel.

That was around 4 in the morning on August 29, 2011.

Tropical Storm Irene had already reached their home the day before, leaving a couple feet of water in their backyard.

That morning however, Keri had a strange feeling.

“I looked at [Daniel] and said ‘why don’t you put our wedding album upstairs.’”

The two evacuated their home. Keri was eight and a half months pregnant at the time.

Daniel returned 5 hours later.

“I walked in the back door, and I was walking on nice dry ground,” said Daniel. “By the time I made it upstairs, the water had already made it up three feet.”

The water got as high as the roof of the porch, so high that Daniel had to use a boat to travel.

The water stayed that high for nine days, slowly receding. But the Hladiks still weren’t able to get into their home.

Keepsakes like a grandfather clock and yearbooks were destroyed. Their porch was wiped out.

During the cleanup, the Hladik’s and their newborn stayed with Keri’s parents.

Two years later, they finally came back to visit their home.

“It was just one of those things where you had to reach into your gut and you just had to be strong,” said Keri.

The Hladik’s say it’s been a battle every

While they’re happy to be home, they say every day can be a battle, and there’s still a long way to go before things are fully back to normal.

“I always said come hell or high water, which we’ve had both,” said Keri. “We’re back, regardless you know and this is home. It may not be perfect, it may not be huge but this is our home.”

The Hladik’s say Irene’s effects continue to linger in their neighborhood. There have been water main breaks on their block, cones lining the street from the most recent break.

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