(CNN)As the floodwaters rapidly rose in her Waverly, Tennessee, home, Vanessa Yates climbed on the kitchen counters with her 4-month-old daughter in her arms and called for help.
A mom and her baby had to be rescued by kayak as floodwaters overtook their Tennessee home
"I just felt like I was going to drown," she told CNN's Kate Bolduan. "It just happened so quickly."
"Everything was floating ... everything was under water," Yates recalled. "My ankles were actually covered with water at that point, and so I just put her at the highest level I could and just prayed to God that we would be OK."
Yates is one of dozens of residents who were quickly overtaken by heavy rain that led to Saturday's flash flooding in Middle Tennessee that killed 18 people and destroyed dozens of homes. Officials earlier said 21 people had died but corrected the total at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities are still searching for three people who are unaccounted for.
Among those killed were 7-month-old twins, Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Grey Collier told CNN. The details surrounding the infants' deaths were not immediately available.
The raging waters pulled homes off their foundations, left cars and other debris strewn about, and washed away almost everything in its path.
As Yates struggled to keep her daughter safe, family members posted on Facebook that she and the baby were in trouble. With the water getting deeper, Yates' brother-in-law, Alan Wallace, headed out to try to rescue her and the baby. He got his kayak as close as he could to the house and got out.
Wallace posted a video as he waded through chest deep water, saying, "If I die and don't make it, I tried. I love y'all."
He made it into to the home and rescued Vanessa and the baby with the boat.
Thomas Almond told CNN his 55-year-old mother, Linda Almond Bryant, died in the floodwater after it carried them through town.
In a video streamed on Facebook live, Almond Bryant showed the flooding outside the home she was in. "We're being flooded right now," she says as the muddy, rushing water pushes debris by the door. "Really scary."
A male voice says he thinks something just hit the house.
"This is scary," she says and about 10 seconds later exclaims, "Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness."
She and her son later found themselves in the water.
Almond said he and his mother were hanging onto a side of his house for 30 minutes Saturday as floodwater rushed around it.
Then, a different, dislodged house that was on fire came toward them. They decided to let go, and the water carried them away, he told CNN on Tuesday.
The rushing water carried them into another dislodged house, which had come to rest against a gas station.
"We hit the corner of the house, and as I hit it, it dragged both of us under," Almond told CNN. "And I was probably under, I don't know, 30-45 seconds.
"And I came out over here, and I looked around, I screamed for my mom a couple times. But I didn't see her. And at that ... I knew I had to fight for myself."
He said the current took him around a bend to another building, where he climbed onto a roof and remained there four hours until he was rescued -- but his mother did not make it, he said.