Irma winds topple 2 construction cranes in Miami, 1 in Ft. Lauderdale

MIAMI (AP/WNCN) — Three construction cranes in South Florida were knocked down by high winds from Hurricane Irma on Sunday.

First, a crane atop a high-rise building under construction collapsed Sunday morning in downtown Miami amid strong winds from Hurricane Irma — the first known crash of the two dozen such heavyweight hazards looming over the city skyline as the monster storm powers across the state.

The highest gust on the east coast of Florida was reported in Miami at 99 mph.

The crane collapsed in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena, according to a tweet from the city of Miami.

Later Sunday afternoon, officials in Miami said another high-rise crane collapsed around 3 p.m.

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It wasn’t immediately clear whether either collapse caused damage or injuries.

Then, Sunday night, a similar crane was knocked over by the high winds in Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, officials said.

Officials say it happened at a project on Fort Lauderdale beach, caused no injuries and did not appear to damage anything else.

Emergency personnel were unable to respond because of high winds, Miami-Dade County Director of Communications Mike Hernandez said.

Though Miami is far from Irma’s landfall in the Florida Keys, winds from the 400-mile-wide storm were blasting through the metro area. The city was under a tornado watch Sunday.

Officials urged people in buildings facing the first crane to seek shelter on the opposite side of the building or in a stairwell.

“AVOID THE AREA!!” the city’s tweet said.

Two dozen tower cranes working on construction sites throughout the city were a concern ahead of Irma. 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.

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