Heavy rains brought flooding to the midwestern and southern U.S. and trapped school buses with students aboard.
On Wednesday morning, a Pulaski County Special School District bus in Arkansas got stuck when the driver went off the road. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Department confirmed that there were 17 students on board at the time. The Pulaski County Road and Bridge Department backed their truck up to the bus and took out eight students at a time via the rear door until they were all off the bus.
“Thanks for their quick thinking and actions,” the sheriff’s office said in praise.
The district, which is located in Little Rock, announced that all of their schools and offices were closed on Friday "due to widespread flooding in areas of the district.”
Tippecanoe School Corporation in northwestern Indiana faced a similar challenge when a school bus with 51 students in it got stuck on a flooded street.
Transportation Director Greg Haltom said that another school bus driver had passed through that area and radioed back to have drivers avoid it due to the standing water, but that the warning came too late for the stuck bus. It moved to the side of the road to let another driver through but went too far and got stuck in a ditch, where it listed but did not tip over. The district sent a truck with a lift bed which backed up to the bus. Dive team members from the sheriff’s office had the students jump aboard and took them to another bus.
Meanwhile Tippecanoe Valley Schools, 90 miles to the northeast, was planning to stay open Wedesday but with a two-hour delay. Later that morning, all district schools were announced closed due to flooding. “There are a significant number of flooded, closed roads in the district which caused the cancellation,” officials explained. Schools also operated on a two-hour delay on Thursday.
“Please do not drive around ‘Road Closed’ signs and please use extreme caution when ‘High Water’ signs are present!” The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office later warned. “Even though it may look safe, a vehicle could be swept away in a current with just a few inches of water, creating a very dangerous situation for you and for the emergency personnel responding.”
The National Weather Service predicts continued flooding into the middle of next week for areas around the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Valley.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Tippecanoe School Corporation was closed or operating on a two-hour delay on Wednesday and Thursday. STN regrets this error.