Update 2: A "before and after" photo of a street in Miami:
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Update: Another crane has collapsed on NE 30th St and is dangling from an unfinished high rise tower. As a reminder, while winds in Miami are still relatively tame, these cranes were meant to be able to withstand Cat 4 winds. So far 2 of roughly 25 have failed to do so.
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The National Weather Service reported that a crane has collapsed in Miami as strong wind from Hurricane Irma blows in. The weather service’s Miami office said in a Tweet that one of its employees witnessed the crane boom and counterweight collapse in downtown Miami. The employee captured video of the collapse.
The crane fell onto a high-rise building that's under construction. It's in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena. According to AP, Miami-Dade County Director of Communications Mike Hernandez said emergency personnel couldn't immediately respond to the scene because of high winds. Authorities urged people to avoid the area after the Sunday morning collapse. It wasn't clear if there were any injuries. Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said the approximately two-dozen other cranes in the city are still upright and built to withstand significant wind gusts.
The cranes were thought to be able to withstand the direct hit of a Category 4 hurricane, however, Irma's winds in Miami are just at the Category 1 level. About 25 cranes remained up before the storm approached South Florida.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the collapse caused damage or injuries.
The boom of the crane snapped off and is currently still connected to the tower, but is hanging off the side of the building. "All we care about is the safety of everyone right now," the building's developer, PMG, said in a statement. "We will have a crew over to secure the crane as soon as the weather permits."
As reported previously, the cranes have been a concern even though construction sites across Irma’s potential path in Florida were locked down to remove or secure building materials, tools and debris that could be flung by Irma’s winds.
But the horizontal arms of the tall tower cranes remained loose despite the potential danger of collapse. According to city officials, it would have taken about two weeks to move the cranes and there wasn’t enough time.
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Meanwhile, as of noon ET, Miami’s financial center appears to now be flooding as ocean water enters city streets as part of the storm’s surge.
As one Instragram user, filming from downtown Miami comments, "there is no Seawall whatsoever" along Brickell Avenue.
According to Reuters, several blocks of flooding crept up on and around Brickell Avenue in Miami, which cuts through the heart of the city's financial district and newly-built high rises. "There's water everywhere," said Chaim Lipskar, rabbi at the Rok Family Shul that is sheltering a few families through the hurricane.