12 September, 2017
Construction sites across Irma's potential path in Florida are being locked down to remove or secure building materials, tools and debris that could become flying missiles in hurricane winds.
An 8 p.m. curfew has been imposed for Miami for the next two nights, and no one is allowed out on the streets until they're cleared, Miami Beach officials said.
Moving the massive equipment, weighing up to 30,000 pounds, is a slow process that would have taken about two weeks, according to city officials.
Those counterweights could pose a grave threat if any of the cranes are unable to withstand wind and flying debris. "They could have taken those cranes down, and Miami could have said 'take them down, ' but nobody wants to give that order".
An employee with the National Weather Service captured the crane boom and counterweight collapse on camera.
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A crane in downtown Miami, Fla. destroyed by strong winds from Hurricane Irma.
The National Hurricane Centre said Irma's winds were at 177 km/h, just below major hurricane status, as the centre of the still risky and wide storm moved farther inland late today.
"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".
Miami's emergency management director, Pete Gomez, said conditions remain risky and replacement crews will not be coming in until the weather improves.
180-mile-an-hour winds threaten buildings across Florida and have seen the destruction they've caused in barbuda and St. Martin and residents watching high-rise buildings and construction cranes along the coast.
Without the arms and counterbalances, only the cranes' towers would have been left standing, and those are extremely strong, Mr. Barth said on Sunday.