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Collette Sulcer, 41, died on Tuesday after she got swept away by strong currents in Beaumont, Texas while trying to carry her three-year-old daughter Jordyn to safety
The mother got out of the car and was trying to carry her daughter to safety when they were swept away.
They were found floating about half a mile from her car.
Police say the mother fought desperately to keep her child's head out of the water.
Officer Carol Riley, a spokeswoman for the Beaumont Police Department, said the mother was found by rescuers floating in the canal with her daughter still clinging to her.
She said Sulcer 'absolutely saved the child's life'.
Rescuers found the little girl shivering and clinging to her mother's lifeless body in a canal
Police said Sulcer (above in 2015) 'absolutely saved the child's life' after the little girl was found clinging to her mother's dead body
The little girl was found by rescuers suffering from hypothermia. Her mother was already dead when they were found
'They were in the water for quite some time. The mother did the best she could to keep her child up over the water.
'The baby also had a backpack that was helping her float on her back and she was holding on to her mom.'
Police and fire rescue divers in a boat spotted the mother and child floating.
The first responders got to Sulcer and her daughter just before they went under a trestle. Police said water was already up to the trestle and they would not have been able to save the girl if they had floated under it.
They managed to pull Sulcer's body and the girl, who was suffering from hypothermia, into the boat.
The mother was pronounced dead shortly after they reached an ambulance.
The child is in stable condition and will be released into the care of family members.
Sulcer was driving at about 3.30pm when she became overwhelmed by the flooding roadway. She had pulled into a parking lot along Interstate 10 (pictured above) when her car got stuck
A 64-year-old man was found dead and buried under a foot of debris in a Houston clock repair shop on Tuesday. A family of six were found dead in their van on Wednesday after their vehicle was swept away on Sunday.
The storm that first came ashore on Friday has forced tens of thousands of people to flee deluged homes and caused damage estimated at tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest US natural disasters.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said a record 51.88 inches (131.78 cm) of rain has fallen in Texas due to Harvey, a record for any storm in the continental United States.
Neighboring Louisiana is set to bear the brunt of the tropical storm's massive downpours on Wednesday, with flash flood warnings in place across the entire state.
Harvey has drawn comparisons with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans 12 years ago, killing 1,800 people and causing an estimated $108 billion in damage.
The storm that first came ashore on Friday has forced tens of thousands of people to flee deluged homes and caused damage estimated at tens of billions of dollars