(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.