MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Marion County homeowner Jeremy DiFiore was jarred awake when a massive tree came crashing down on his house.
It happened as Tropical Storm Eta was sweeping across North Central Florida early Thursday.
“It sounded like somebody dropped a train inside the bedroom, just a huge, huge sound,” he said. "My wife and I immediately jumped up and we saw, a tree had hit, directly over my son’s head.”
Their son Jaxson left his bedroom to seek safety in his parents' room, but it turns out, that was the worst place to go.
“My son comes in to be safe with us, meanwhile, it hits directly over the top, when he’s with us,” said DiFiore, “a branch coming through and drywall and insulation all over my son. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”
DiFiore is shocked because the storm didn’t seem severe.
“It didn’t seem like it was that bad, we’ve been through them before that were much worse than that,” said DiFiore.
Despite the mess, DiFiore and his family are counting their blessings.
“When you think about what really could have happened, he could have been absolutely smashed. That’s terrifying to even think that,” said DiFiore.
The damage is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars. The homeowner is thanking his neighbors for rushing over to help at 2 a.m. when they heard the tree crash down.
Tropical Storm Eta packed a punch in Pinellas County too. More than a foot of water flooded homes and street flooding forced several people to spend the night in their cars because they couldn't safely get down the road where they lived.
In Gulfport, sailboats were anchored and washed ashore because the wind was so strong. Some sailboats washed up to the sea wall.