Monday, March 12, 2012

The Day of the Tornado

Very few things strike pure fear into a bus drivers' mind than weather troubles. We are like the US Postal Service. You know the saying, "Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow....." We drive in all kinds of inclement and sometimes dangerous weather. We keep control of a busload of children while trying to keep our cool in pouring rain, sleet, hail, snow, and fog. Somehow we also juggle the ever constant CB radio traffic, kids being obnoxious, and parents demanding things from us, while driving and dropping the kids off safely.

The day started out rather normally, although we had an increase in rainy weather over the course of the week. Rain is a fairly normal obstacle, but occasionally we get fronts of some scary thunderstorms that cause us to be on severe thunderstorm and tornado watches. Occasionally, these watches turn into warnings, and it is imperative that we take cover.

My field trip had been canceled, so I was riding along with a friend learning the changes in her route. We had just left the elementary school with approximately 50 some odd children on the bus. We pulled into the middleschool and began loading like normal, when it got very quiet. The principal was making rounds to every bus and saying something.

He got to our bus and said, "We need to get these kids off the bus and into the school NOW.... there is a Tornado warning!"

Pause. Sheer disbelief. Then Action!

We hustled all the kids off at the same time as about 20 other bus drivers. They split the buses in half and we directed the kids into the school and told them to stick together and follow directions. We had mass chaos and panic. Some kids even cried and needed to be held because they were scared. We evacuated the buses at 3 pm, and did not get back on the buses until 45 minutes later.

Luckily the tornado stayed away from the school but it was near enough for it to be a dangerous threat. As soon as we got back on the buses, the skies opened up, and it poured, and flooded.

The good news is we all made it home safe, but in the end, its not something I want to go through again.


NOT Over The Rainbow,

The Bus Driver

7 comments:

Pissed Off said...

Glad everyone was safe. Scary and dangerous stuff.

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh my gosh, that must have been so scary. Glad you all escaped unscathed.

Online Degrees said...

Wow - that certainly is scary. I bet the first moments felt like slow motion. Glad to hear it turned out allright.

Mrs. Gumby said...

Wow, Bus Driver! That does sound like a very frightening day! Thank goodness you're all OK.

GraceWong said...

As someone who's from Malaysia, a tropical country blessed weather-wise, I've never experienced tornadoes. Watch them on TVs, yes. Going through them, no.
Glad all the kids and everyone is safe.
**Your posts are always meaningful. Opened up a whole new perspective for readers like me to think about. Keep it up!

KauaiMark said...

After seeing those truck trailers flying through the air, I wouldn't want to be in anything except a tank out there.

Monica said...

Glad to know there are systems in place to keep everyone safe. That must have been a scary day for you and the students. Glad this happened while you were still at the school site. I saw a news video where a bus driver had to pull over and rush to get a group of kids off the bus just before a tornado hit the bus! Stay safe.