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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock seemed to be the miracle survivor of a deadly tornado that killed her parents and two siblings when she arrived Friday night at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Though critically injured when the twister scooped her up and deposited her in a field, Angel was opening her eyes. Hospital workers said that was a hopeful sign.
But the New Pekin, Ind., girl’s condition deteriorated Saturday as her brain swelled, chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel said. As the day went on, Angel’s eyes stopped moving, and there was no sign of brain activity. She was removed from life support Sunday afternoon.
Angel’s death ended a hopeful tale for survivors in the Midwest and South and brought to 39 the number of people killed by the storms that devastated five states.
As residents picked through the rubble and made plans to bury their dead, they also began trying to find a semblance of normalcy as officials continued to assess the damage.
The National Weather Service in Louisville, Ky., said the tornado that struck New Pekin measured an EF-3 on the enhanced Fujita scale, while another tornado that struck nearby Henryville, Ind., was stronger yet, measuring an EF-4 and packing winds of 175 mph.
Early Monday, a blanket of wet snow covered Henryville and other parts of tornado-stricken Clark County. State homeland security spokeswoman Emily Norcross said the 2 to 4 inches of snow could slow cleanup efforts because it concealed potential hazards.
“It’s slippery and it’s hampering visibility on roads, so it’s more difficult to see small debris like nails,” Norcross said. “It’s complicating things.”
McCarty, her friends and co-workers talked about establishing the bar as a central refuge for tornado victims from the immediate region, including making roughly 1,000 meals Sunday for victims and volunteers.
But when she talked about the Babcock family, she got quiet: “It was the whole family.”
Speaking from his bed at the University of Louisville Hospital, Jason Miller told NBC’s “Today” show Monday that he invited the Babcock family into his home as the storm was bearing down. As it hit, they took shelter in the hallway, grabbed hands and began to pray.
Miller said he remembers being sucked up into the air but blacked out soon after. His arm, back and five ribs were broken.
“It’s very saddening to hear that the whole family passed away, and I was sitting right there holding their hands two seconds before they died,” Miller said.
A memorial service for the Babcock family was scheduled for Monday afternoon at a church in Salem, Ind.
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