Olga Simmons was in bed Wednesday morning when her husband heard a noise and told her a tree was falling near their home on Hilton Head Island's north end.
She looked out the window but could barely see anything. She went outside and found a scene she described as "just a mess."
The large live oak -- the one under which the Simmons family had held summertime cookouts -- had split in two. One half toppled a fence before landing in her daughter's yard next door near Gumtree Road.
Within 20 minutes, the other half came crashing down, puncturing Simmons' roof.
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Simmons had run back inside to get her medicine and important papers. She ran out the back door just before it fell. Her husband was inside at the time but also made it out safely.
Including branches, the tree was about 100 feet wide and about as tall, family members estimated.
Simmons, who has lived all of her 59 years on the property, said the tree has been there at least that long. She said it was visibly rotten in the middle.
By Wednesday afternoon, the family had cut and stacked the second half of the tree, but the first remained in the yard, and their power remained out.
Simmons was glad it hadn't happened at night and that no one was hurt.
"My roof can be replaced," she said.