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"The arm's counterbalance is very heavy and poses a potential danger if the crane collapses."
The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma, could wreak havoc on Florida this weekend, depending on its still-uncertain path. 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.
Steve Mollman is the Asia correspondent for Quartz, where this article was originally published.