World Media

Hurricane Irma puts 400000 people in Miami-Dade at risk of evacuation

A crane atop a high-rise under construction in downtown Miami collapsed Sunday Sept. 10 2017 amid strong winds from Hurricane Irma

Officials from the city of Miami say there are more than 20 cranes in downtown Miami right now. "Taking them is not something you can easily do".

So far no injuries related to the crash have been reported.

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm.

City manager Daniel Alfonso says officials knew Irma could be a serious threat with about a week's notice, and that wasn't enough time to take all the cranes down.

The cranes are created to withstand winds of up to 145 miles per hour.

The city and surrounding areas were under a tornado watch Sunday.

At one point, cellphone video appeared to show the ball that balances the weight of the anchor on the crane was swinging and slamming into the side of the building, although Deputy Building Director Maurice Pons couldn't confirm that was the case.

Dan Whiteman, vice chairman Coastal Construction, said he has 12 cranes in the Miami area.

Only a few contractors are certified to remove those cranes, he said.

The boom of the crane snapped off and is now still connected to the tower, but is hanging off the side of the building.

The boom of the crane collapsed at the Vice Tower in Miami, The Miami Herald reported. Officials urged anyone living near one to evacuate if Irma hit as a Category 5 hurricane.

The major exception, Whiteman said, is if a tornado forms, which "virtually nothing" would be able to withstand.

"This is a life-threatening situation", the National Hurricane Center said.

Miami Heat officials said some of the arena's exterior paneling was damaged, but there was no structural damage.