Friday, 22 September, 2017

They've been warned: Some insist on riding out Irma at home

Irma sends cranes tumbling in flooded Miami Irma sends cranes tumbling in flooded Miami
Jo Caldwell | 12 September, 2017, 00:22

Miami had been in touch with Perez, but the state of Florida and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had jurisdiction over the cranes, City Manager Daniel Alfonso said.

But Thomas Barth, who owns Barth Crane Inspections in SC and investigates crane accidents, said the cranes' arms and counterbalances could have been taken down with the help of crews from out of state if necessary.

"Tomorrow we'll assess the damage and try to get the engineering part of it corrected", Deputy Building Director Maurice Pons said.

Tania Leets, a spokeswoman for the public health system which serves Miami-Dade County, said they offered the same service past year during Hurricane Matthew.

The city identified two dozen tower cranes working on construction sites as a concern ahead of Irma. Only a few companies are certified to do that kind of work, said Dan Whiteman, vice chairman of Coastal Construction, who has 12 cranes in the Miami area.

They are created to withstand winds up to 145 miles per hour (233 kph), but not a Category 5 hurricane, when winds top 157 miles per hour (252 kph), city officials said.

"It takes five to six days per crane, and they can be up to 900 feet tall and include 10,000-pound counterweights", WLRN reports.

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"I'd rather take the chance and be here, maybe get out and help other people around here", he said.

A tornado could have ripped the crane loose, Whiteman said. If the wind starts ripping off their roof, they can squeeze into a crawl space underneath, he said.

As of publishing time Sunday, Irma had left more than 1.8 million homes and businesses without power.

The massive storm made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning after battering several islands in the Caribbean earlier this week, leaving 22 dead.

See footage from downtown Miami below.

"Water still rising in downtown Miami along Brickell Avenue", WSVN reporter Brian Entin said. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma's Category 2 winds blew out windows in new Miami high-rises that met the updated code.

Boak reported from Washington, D.C.

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