On Wednesday morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wife, First Lady Casey DeSantis, took to social media to update that she and her family were OK after a massive, century-old tree toppled over their home during Hurricane Idalia.
“A 100 year old oak tree fell on the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee – Mason, Madison, Mamie and I were home at the time but luckily no one was hurt,” Casey, now known as X, wrote on Twitter after the hurricane.
Her tweet included a photo of the damage, revealing a large tree split in half down the middle and leaning against a nearby car and part of the family’s home. “Our prayers are with everyone affected by the storm,” Casey’s post continued.
A short time later, the governor held a press conference with other officials to update the public after the storm had passed. While at the podium, a reporter asked if his wife and children were okay after a picture of a tree at their villa was shared on social media.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
“We are fine,” the Republican assured the reporter. “Actually, [Casey] he called me probably about 45 minutes ago and told me, said, ‘I guess a really old oak tree split in half and part of it fell,’ he explained.
Ron then clarified, “I don’t know if it fell on the residence, per se. I think it was a little sideways, so that will be cleared up.” The governor added that if the entire oak tree has to be cut down and cleared, “it will just be more space for my kids to play baseball.”
He said that while the family enjoyed the tree, if the storm damage removed it, they would be “just fine.” Their youngest daughter, Mamie, was the first baby born at the Governor’s Mansion in more than 50 years.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with his wife Casey and their three children.
Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida on Wednesday morning as a Category 3 storm. A force of nature came ashore near Keaton Beach with record-breaking wind gusts and storm surges.
According to CNN, Idalia’s gusts of over 16 feet and wind speeds of over 125 mph made it the strongest hurricane to reach Florida’s Big Bend area in more than 125 years.
Two killed in severe weather crashes within minutes amid Hurricane Idalia, Florida Highway Patrol says
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials shared a statement saying they are “ready to go to the most affected areas immediately after the storm passes” with “warehouses full of goods such as food, water, blankets and medical supplies that [are] ready to move quickly to the affected area at the state’s request.”
According to poweroutage.us, about 161,000 residents were without power. Tornado warnings are also in effect for areas along the storm’s path.
A flooded street near the Steinhatchee Marina in Steinhatchee, Florida on August 30, 2023 after Hurricane Idalia made landfall.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty
Mallie Critser, a Florida native who survived Hurricane Ian last year, spoke with PEOPLE on Wednesday about preparing for Idalia’s impact. “We’ve been through the worst,” said Critser, a 22-year-old associate pastor at Beach Baptist Church.
Idalia made landfall about 320 miles north of Fort Myers Beach, digging up painful reminders of past storms. “It was really tough,” Critser added. “But we calmed down, and we’re like, ‘Okay, it’s not affecting us. We’re fine.’ ”
Critser said the high tide caused her home to get “about six inches of water on our ground floor” and although she stayed inside to ride out the storm, she could see the water levels were “enough that the spare tire floated past”.