Woman Saves Infant From Drowning in Flood By Placing Her On Top of Cabinet

A woman in Waverly, Tennessee, is lucky to be alive after her quick thinking saved both her and her daughter from drowning.

On Saturday, the state was gripped with severe flooding and record-breaking rainfall. The area saw a whopping 17.02 inches of rain in less than twenty-four hours, shattering the previous record of 13.6 inches, set decades ago in 1982.

The flooding has ravaged the region, with at least 22 dead, including twin infants, and several missing. Entire roads, power lines, and cellphone towers were washed away in the storm, and homes, cars, and buildings were left destroyed. Governor Bill Lee has since called the tragedy a "devastating picture of loss and heartache."

Waverly, in central Tennessee, was one of the towns hardest hit by the floods: as Vanessa Yates explained to WKRN, water levels rose rapidly "in just a short amount of time."

Waverly Flooding
A partially-submerged truck in Waverly, Tennessee, August 23, 2021. Heavy rains in the area caused severe flooding, killing at least 22 people. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

"The water continued to rise, and it got very high very quickly," she said. When she woke up that morning, around 9 am, the flooding was reportedly calf-level. But before long, the water reached her chest, and things around her began to float.

"I just felt like I was going to drown," Yates told CNN. "It just happened so quickly." Making the situation even more terrifying was the fact that she had her four-month-old daughter by her side.

Thinking on her feet, Yates moved her daughter to the highest point she could access. "I went and got on the kitchen counter, and I put her as far as I could in the top cabinet," said Yates to WKRN. "I just stood on the top of the kitchen counter."

"I thought, before I got onto the counter, I for sure thought we were going to drown. Me and my baby wouldn't make it," she added.

At the time, Yates' husband, Anthony, was at work in the nearby town of McEwan, which also experienced severe weather effects. When he got a call that his family was in trouble, he rushed home.

"I started driving out back towards home. The road between the town, Waverly, and the next one over, McEwen ... was completely washed away," explained Anthony to WKRN. "I ended up ditching my car and walked along the railroad tracks the rest of the way into town just to look for her and the baby."

Meanwhile, Yates' brother-in-law, Alan Wallace, came to the rescue: he paddled a kayak to their house and managed to get them out. Wallace had been alerted to Yates and the baby's dangerous situation after a relative posted about it on social media, reported CNN.

It appears that Yates and the infant were taken to a hospital, where they were eventually reunited with Anthony.

"I broke down crying," said Anthony, describing the moment to WKRN.

Newsweek has reached out to Vanessa Yates for further comment.