At least one crane collapsed Sunday morning in Miami as Hurricane Irma’s powerful winds lashed southern Florida, and officials warn there could be more such incidents given the area’s building boom and the intensifying conditions.
The crane came crashing down in downtown Miami next to the federal prison in front of the courthouse, WSVN reported. Strong wind gusts ravaging the city could cause more cranes to collapse as Irma marches up the state’s west coast.
“We’re telling people that if you live by a construction site you should evacuate.”
“A tower crane has collapsed on top of a high rise under construction at 300 Biscayne Blvd. AVOID THE AREA!!” the city of Miami reported.
Two dozen cranes hang over residents’ heads with the horizontal arms of the tall tower devices hanging loose because they couldn’t be tied down or moved. City officials told people to leave if they live in a path of these cranes.
“We’re telling people that if you live by a construction site you should evacuate,” Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority, said on Thursday. “The winds are so strong that it’s not known what will happen.”
Miami officials said they will use geo-fencing, reverse 911 communication system and social media to contact residents in the area where the crane collapsed.
Officials initially said it was a “slow process that can take about two weeks” to remove the loose crane booms in the city. The cranes are designed to withstand winds up to 145 mph. Irma made landfall in the Keys with 130 mph winds. Construction sites across the state were locked and secured to prevent other materials from flying away.
Several streets in Miami appeared to be totally submerged as of Sunday morning. Gov. Rick Scott said on “Fox News Sunday” to “pray for everybody in Florida” as the storm makes its way through the state.
Miami police also urged people to stay indoors since officers are “sheltered for their safety” and will not be able to respond to 911 calls.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.