Construction cranes collapse in downtown Miami

Mari Michaud her daughter Zoey and son Neal Jr. are fleeing Irma and in search of lodging and gasoline

At least two construction cranes collapsed onto buildings in downtown Miami as Hurricane Irma brought deadly winds into South Florida on Sunday.

The Miami-Herald reports that ten years ago Miami-Dade County tried to put in place an ordinance which would require all cranes to be able to withstand 140 miles per hour winds.

And because those cranes weren't created to withstand a storm of Irma's ferocity, city officials are telling people who live in the shadows of the giant lifting devices to leave.

Many are questioning why the cranes can't be moved, Miami officials said Tuesday in a tweet.

Those counterweights could pose a grave threat if any of the cranes are unable to withstand wind and flying debris.

"This particular crane, some of it was taken down", Jorge Perez, chief executive of The Related Group, Miami's largest developer, said by telephone.

The building's construction was expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to the Miami New Times - but that was before Hurricane Irma struck Florida.

Drivers wait in line for gas in Altamonte Springs Florida
Drivers wait in line for gas in Altamonte Springs Florida

Miami officials said on Twitter last week that it would take two weeks to move them - and two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma was not even a tropical storm.

Though Miami is far from Irma's landfall in the Florida Keys, winds from the 400-mile-wide storm were blasting through the metro area.

A partially submerged auto at a flooded area in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives in south Florida, in Miami, Fla., on September 10, 2017. The bayfront area is filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena.

"Tall structures are not particularly vulnerable except for damage from flying objects", Schofer said, "and fairly large objects will be boosted into the air with wind speeds like this". "They were surprised that it went down because they felt it was one of the more secure cranes, so we're right on it".

A second crane collapse was later reported at a building under construction on Northeast 30th Terrace.

A tornado could have ripped the crane loose, Whiteman said.

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