Bush Family Takes Cover During Texas Storms

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were moved to an armored vehicle on their ranch Friday when a tornado warning was issued in Central Texas, the White House said.

The vehicle was driven to a tornado shelter on the ranch, and the president, first lady and their two Scottish terriers sat inside until the weather cleared, deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said. They were never moved into the shelter, he said.

The president was "in the vehicle for about 10 minutes and then he went back to the house," Stanzel said, adding that other members of the staff at the ranch were sheltered as well.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch at 12:40 p.m. (1:40 p.m. ET). At 3:47 p.m. (4:47 p.m. ET), the watch was upgraded to a tornado warning, which lasted for less than an hour.

The rush to the tornado shelter interrupted Bush's day at the ranch, where he received calls to wish him a happy new year from outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is visiting Miami, also called Bush to talk about Iraq.

Stanzel said Bush spent time on the rainy, windy day contemplating the new plan for U.S. policy in Iraq that he plans to announce in the new year. Bush hosted a National Security Council meeting at his ranch on Thursday.


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