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HEAVY DANGER

Booming Miami is littered with tower cranes not built to withstand a massive hurricane

This Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo shows construction cranes at the Brickell City Centre project in downtown Miami. According to real estate license applications in 2013, the number of U.S. real estate agents is increasing as the housing market recovers from the Great Recession.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
Caution: Don't mix with record-breaking hurricanes.
  • Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma, could wreak havoc on Florida this weekend, depending on its still-uncertain path. (Update: Irma is now on a collision course with Miami.) While it will create bigger problems to worry about if it does, the booming city of Miami is already warning residents about the potential danger posed by objects on its skyline that are hard to miss: towering construction cranes.

As the city noted in a tweet yesterday, the 20 to 25 tower cranes are not designed to withstand the winds of a Category 5 hurricane:

Hurricane Irma has produced winds of 185 mph, with gusts exceeding 200 mph.

“The crane’s arm has to remain loose; it is not tied down,” the city noted. “The arm’s counterbalance is very heavy and poses a potential danger if the crane collapses.”

With that in mind, officials are advising residents to not stay in buildings next to the cranes during a hurricane—and if they do, to take shelter in interior, enclosed, concrete stairways.

Irma is passing over the Caribbean, with Barbuda already being walloped and Puerto Rico, Antigua, and the US Virgin Islands also in its likely path.

In January, Bloomberg noted that developers were accelerating the construction of apartment buildings in downtown Miami, saying the number of rentals will more than triple this year.

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