WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A large tree landed on top of a school bus Thursday during a powerful afternoon thunderstorm in West Palm Beach.
It happened on Parker Avenue near Howard Park, not far from a West Palm Beach fire station.
Severe #Weather #TarfficAlert Parker Avenue from Kanuga Drive to Belvedere Road closed after a large tree fell onto a school bus during a storm. About 20 kids on the bus were safely evacuated without any injuries. #BREAKING pic.twitter.com/4ASg87hthL— West Palm Beach Police Department (@WestPalmPD) August 17, 2023
The large tree was partially resting on the roof of the bus, denting it.
About 20 children were on the bus at the time, but they were able to get out safely, police said.
West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles credits the bus driver for getting the students off the bus safely.
“If you’re a parent, you want to make sure your kids are in safe hands," he said, "and today, they were in safe hands."
A school district spokeswoman said most of the children walked home, but five stayed behind to get picked up. She wouldn't reveal the name of the school from which the bus was dropping off students.
"I've never seen a tornado, but I think it was a tornado," a woman who lives nearby told WPTV.
WPTV First Alert Weather meteorologist James Wieland said it was a "microburst," which is a big downburst of wind coming out of a cloud. The wind gust reportedly hit speeds of 74 mph.
The storm also damaged trees in the park, at The Square in downtown West Palm Beach and behind a home in Boynton Beach.
"Yeah, that's a pretty potent storm," Wieland said. "It's normal in a severe thunderstorm."
Parker Avenue was closed between Belvedere Road and Okeechobee Boulevard while workers cleared the debris.