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Snow adds to tornado survivors' misery

| Tuesday, March 6, 2012

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. -- A winter snowstorm added to the woes on Monday of tornado-struck Indiana and Kentucky, dropping several inches of snow on the ravaged region where dozens of people were killed, meteorologists said.

Overnight, three to five inches of snow fell in southern Indiana and north-central Kentucky, where recovery efforts were under way after the deadly twisters on Friday, the National Weather Service said.

The fast-moving tornadoes, numbering at least 30, splintered blocks of homes and tossed around vehicles like toys.

Officials said the death toll was at least 39 -- 21 in Kentucky, 13 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one in Alabama. Georgia also reported a storm-related death.

A 15-month-old Indiana girl who clung to life for two days after being scooped up by a tornado that killed her parents and two siblings was buried yesterday in a snow-covered cemetery, a poignant end to what had seemed to be a miracle story of survival.

An American flag hung at half-staff as relatives of Angel Babcock gathered for the private burial. Angel, her mother and her 2-month-old sister were buried in one casket. Her father and 2-year-old brother were in another.

The little girl died Sunday at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky., after suffering severe head injuries when a tornado struck her family's home in New Pekin, Ind., and swept her into the field.

"I had my arm around her when she took her last breath," her grandmother, Kathy Babcock, told ABC News. "I sang to her 'Itsy-bitsy spider."'

In hard-hit West Liberty, Ky., the wet, heavy snow is contributing to the danger of more structural damage to buildings weakened by the storm.

The snow has caused the collapse of 20-foot by 30-foot tent set up to serve meals to emergency workers and survivors. Kentucky Baptist Convention volunteers shifted meal service to a crowded community center.

The snow had started to melt by early afternoon, and the region will have a break from storms the remainder of the week to focus on clean-up, according to the National Weather Service.

West Liberty's main street was congested with emergency workers, insurance inspectors and security personnel Monday morning, as shop owners and employees tried to return to their stores to assess the damage.

Among them were Linda Oakley, who along with her husband, Dale Oakley, accompanied firefighters into the storm-damaged All Occasion Flowers.

They used flashlights to survey the pitch-black store and found it a mess -- water on the floor, insulation hanging from the ceiling and smashed pots. Mysteriously, some floral arrangements on light-weight shelves remained intact. Thomas, the store cat, was found alive, but he wouldn't come out of his hiding place.

"Anything we can do to get back to normal business, (residents) will see that as a reason to believe we can recover," said Linda Oakley, an employee at the shop.

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