A 100-year-old tree oak fell on the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, Florida, as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the area, said Casey DeSantis, wife of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The state’s first lady said she was inside the mansion with their three children, Madison, Mason and Mamie, when it happened, but no one was injured.
“Our prayers are with everyone impacted by the storm,” she wrote in a tweet, sharing a photo of the giant tree that had split through its trunk.
The original mansion, which is just blocks from the Florida State Capitol, was built in 1907 and then rebuilt in 1955 after it had become structurally unsound. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by Palm Beach architect Sims Wyeth in a Greek Revival style.
Gov. DeSantis, who also a GOP candidate for president, moved into the mansion with his family when he was elected to the office in 2019. He has been giving regular news conferences from Tallahassee during the storm, and said he had been informed about the tree’s collapse.
By midday Wednesday, the eye of the storm had moved on from Florida ito Georgia, but the storm’s bands were still impacting the state, particularly in the north, and flooding was expected to worsen as the tide rose Wednesday afternoon. More than 250,000 customers were without of power.
People in 28 Florida counties were either ordered or recommended to evacuate ahead of Idalia — primarily along the Gulf Coast in areas at highest risk of extreme floods from the storm.
The storm made landfall as a Category 3 Wednesday morning at Keaton Beach in the Big Bend area — the region where the Florida peninsula meets the panhandle. Keaton Beach is about 90 minutes from Tallahassee.
Storm surge in some areas was expected to reach as high as 12 to 16 feet, the National Hurricane Center said. Videos and photos showed the rushing floodwaters rising in coastal neighborhoods.
Tallahassee, which is in the northern part of the state, is not an evacuation zone. The storm, however, passed over that area, causing damage like downed trees.
National Weather Service Tallahassee warned about flash flooding in nearby Valdosta, Remerton and Dasher, Georgia. The City of Tallahassee also warned of power outages that may impact traffic signals.
Tallahassee had been forecast to receive wind gusts up to 35 mph during the storm and the National Weather Service warned of the risk of damage and potentially impassable roads due to downed trees and debris.