Storm Harvey: Shivering toddler found clinging to body of drowned mother in Texas floods

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A shivering toddler was found clinging to the body of her drowned mother in the devastating floods caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in Texas.

The woman died trying to carry her child to safety in Beaumont, a city in south-east Texas, officials said.

Captain Brad Penisson, of the city’s fire-rescue department, said the woman’s vehicle got stuck on Tuesday afternoon in the flooded parking lot of an office park just off Interstate 10. 

At the time, Storm Harvey was pounding Beaumont with up to two inches of rain per hour and 38mph gusts of wind.

A witness saw the woman take her 18-month-old daughter and try to walk to safety when the swift current of a flooded drainage canal next to the parking lot swept them both away. 

The child was holding onto the floating woman when a police and fire-rescue team in a boat caught up to them a half-mile downstream, he said. 

Rescuers pulled them into the boat just before they would have gone under a trestle bridge where the water was so high that the boat could not have followed. 

Cars submerged after Storm Harvey (AP)

First responders lifted the child from her mother’s body and tried to revive the woman, but she never regained consciousness. 

Capt Penisson said the child was in stable condition at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital. 

The identities of the mother and child were being withheld until the father, who was out of town, could be notified. 

Devastation: floodwaters after Storm Harvey (AP)

At least 18 people have been killed by Tropical Storm Harvey since Friday, when it made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. Harvey has since weakened to a tropical storm.

It led to mass evacuations and left much of the city of Houston – home to 6.8 million people – underwater.

Exhausted and drenched in filthy floodwater, volunteers and rescue workers are scrambling to save victims in the aftermath of the storm.

Evacuee Edward Jones, 11, holds his step-brother Mickel Duane Batts at the Lakewood Church in Houston(AP)

Officials said at least 9,000 to 10,000 people have been rescued in the Houston region. Up to 30,000 people are believed to be in need of emergency shelter and authorities are receiving more than 1,000 calls an hour for help.

The tropical storm is due to make landfall again on Wednesday but it is Louisiana that is expected to bear the brunt. 

Donald Trump praises Texas’ Emergency Services in wake of Hurricane Harvey

It is expected to strike the Texas-Louisiana border before continuing to batter Louisiana through the later part of the week.

A number of tornadoes are also forecast.

Residents of Louisiana’s Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans have been warned to expect extreme weather in the coming days. 

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