The Latest: 3rd Construction Crane Falls to Irma's Winds

The Latest: 3rd Construction Crane Falls to Irma's Winds

Officials with developer The Related Group told the Sun-Sentinel the crane collapse caused no injuries and did not appear to damage anything else.

Two other cranes toppled earlier in Miami as Irma swirled up the state.

9:25 p.m.

Miami International Airport has announced it will be closed Monday and begin only limited flights on Tuesday.

Orlando International Airport closed Saturday and won't reopen to passenger traffic until after Hurricane Irma has passed, a damage assessment has been completed, necessary recovery efforts made and the airlines are consulted to determine when best to resume operations.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport says on its website it has no timetable yet to reopen. Its last flights were Friday.

Tampa International Airport also is closed as Hurricane Irma moves up the Florida peninsula.

Airlines are preparing their recovery schedules, which may take several days to execute.

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9:05 p.m.

The county administrator in the Florida Keys says crews will begin house to house searches Monday morning, looking for people who need help and assessing damage from Hurricane Irma.

Monroe county administrator Roman Gastesi says relief will arrive on a C-130 military plane Monday morning at the Key West International Airport.

Once it's light out, they'll check on survivors. They suspect they may find fatalities.

Gastesi says they are "prepared for the worst."

Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday morning in Cudjoe Key.

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8:55 p.m.

The U.S. Departments of State and Defense are working on evacuation flights from Sint Maarten after Hurricane Irma.

Officials say U.S. citizens in need of evacuation should shelter in place until Monday, listening for radio updates, and then go to the airport by noon, bringing proof of citizenship and just one small bag.

The State Department adds that a Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship has left the island.

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8:45 p.m.

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses - and counting - have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.

The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone.

The power outages are expected to increase as the storm edges further north.

There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state. (edited)

8:30 p.m.

Hurricane Irma's top sustained winds have dropped to 105 mph. That's still a Category 2 storm, meaning extensive damage will occur.

Masters says that if Irma's center had shifted just 20 miles to the north as it moved past Cuba, it could have hit the mainland United States as a Category 5.

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8 p.m.

Two manatees were stranded after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay, in Florida's Manatee County.

Several people posted photos of the mammals on Facebook Sunday, hoping rescue workers or wildlife officials would respond. Michael Sechler posted that the animals were far too massive to be lifted, so they gave them water.

Marcelo Clavijo posted that a group of people eventually loaded the manatees onto tarps and dragged them to deeper water.

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7:45 p.m.

Hurricane Irma set all sorts of records for brute strength before crashing into Florida, flattening islands in the Caribbean and swamping the Florida Keys.

It finally hit the mainland as a big wide beast, but not quite as monstrous as once feared. The once-Category 5 storm lost some of its power on the northern Cuba coast.

It's still raking Florida with devastating storm surges, winds and rain. Its top sustained winds are now 110 mph (177 kph) and the center of the storm is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) inland from Fort Myers.

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7:30 p.m.

It's been difficult to determine the extent of damage Hurricane Irma caused in the Florida Keys, where communication has been difficult and authorities are warning boaters and drivers to stay away.

But The Associated Press has been texting with John Huston, who has been riding out the storm in his house on Key Largo, on the Atlantic side of the island, just south of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Every few minutes during the height of the storm, he sent another dispatch.

He described whiteout conditions, with howling winds that sucked dry the gulf side of the narrow island, where the tide is usually 8 feet deep. He kept his humor though, texting to "send cold beer" at one point. Now he sees furniture floating down the street with small boats.

He says the storm surge was at least 6 feet deep on his island, 76 miles from Irma's eye. He can see now that structures survived, but the storm left a big mess at ground level.

7 p.m.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office says water began leaking through the roof at the Germain Arena shelter in Estero just as the eye of Hurricane Irma drew near.

Thousands of evacuees have crowded into the minor-league hockey stadium, which seats about 8,400 people and is being used as a shelter.

The sheriff's office posted on Facebook that authorities are monitoring the problem.

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6:50 p.m.

Florida officials are urging people to stay in their homes and shelters, even if it looks like Hurricane Irma has passed.

Miami-Dade County spokesman Mike Hernandez said he's seen reports of people leaving the county's hurricane shelters. It's too early for that, he says: "Just because it seems like the weather is clearing up, that doesn't mean it's safe to get out on the roads.

Miami Dade remains under curfew, much of it without electricity, and with downed power lines, flooding and poor visibility, moving around could be deadly.

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6:45 p.m.

An airborne relief mission is bringing emergency supplies to the Florida Keys, where Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday morning.

Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said help is coming in C-130 cargo planes and other air resources.

Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt calls it a humanitarian crisis.

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6:30 p.m.

Hurricane Irma should be moving directly over the Tampa Bay area around midnight. Residents of the highly populated area are fearing the worst.

A report by CoreLogic, the global property data firm, found nearly 455,000 Tampa Bay homes could be damaged by storm surges, the most of any major US metro area other than Miami and New York. Rebuilding those homes could cost $81 billion.

The reason Tampa Bay is so vulnerable is that the bay acts as a funnel for storm surges, forcing water into narrow channels with nowhere else to go.

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6:20 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center reports water levels are rising rapidly in Naples from Hurricane Irma's storm surge. A federal tide gauge in Naples reported a 7 foot rise of water in just 90 minutes.

A wind gust of 142 mph (229 kph) was recorded at the Naples Municipal Airport as the storm kept its top sustained wind speed of 110 mph (175 kph).

Irma has picked up forward speed and is moving inland at 14 mph (22 kph) and its eye is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south southeast of Fort Myers.

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6:10 p.m.

Lauren Durham and Michael Davis had big plans for a beach wedding this month. Hurricane Irma had bigger plans.

So instead of a poofy white dress, Durham got married in her Air National Guard fatigues, with no makeup, in a vast hangar filled with rescue vehicles in Orlando. Davis is a senior airman in the guard, like his bride, so they had called to say they'd miss their own wedding.

Then on Sunday, a friend joked that they should get married during the hurricane. Dozens of people helped out, and a fellow guard member happens to be a notary and officiated. Someone even came up with a bouquet of flowers.

The happy couple believes in service before self, and besides, they figure it'll be a great story to tell their kids one day.

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6 p.m.

President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in the state of Florida, making federal aid available to people affected by Hurricane Irma in nine counties already hit by the storm.

The federal help includes temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover in the counties of Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

Federal funding also is available to governments and non-profit organizations for emergencies in all 67 Florida counties. For the first 30 days, that money will cover 100 percent of the costs of some emergency responses.

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5:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. may have gotten a "little bit lucky" after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed west along Florida's coast.

He says Irma may not have been quite as destructive as a result, but that things will play out over the next several hours.

Trump addressed reporters Sunday after returning to the White House from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland where he spent the weekend monitoring the storm.

Trump says Irma will cost "a lot of money" but he isn't thinking about that right now.

He says "right now, we're worried about lives, not cost."

Trump says he'll be having additional meetings about coordination for the storm response.

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5:15 p.m.

Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 2 storm, technically losing its major hurricane status, after making landfall in southwestern Florida. It is over land but hugging the coast as it moves north.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma's winds were at 110 mph (177 kph), just below major hurricane status, as the center of the still dangerous and wide storm moved farther inland. It was 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Naples late Sunday afternoon. It came ashore on Marco Island at 3:35 p.m.

The Hurricane Center says "although weakening is forecast, Irma is expected to remain a hurricane at least through Monday morning."

The Hurricane Center says the eye of Irma should hug Florida's west coast through Monday morning and then push more inland over northern Florida and southwestern Georgia on Monday afternoon. The forecast puts the storm generally over the populated Tampa-St. Petersburg region a couple hours after midnight into Monday morning.

Jeff Masters is meteorology director of the private Weather Underground. He says the fact that the storm approached the Tampa region from over land and from the south could slightly reduce the expected storm surge, although he says it will still be dangerous.

Irma is producing deluges of 2 to 4 inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of rain an hour, which can cause flash flooding.

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5:15 p.m.

The storm surge near Cudjoe Key may be flooding the nearby Florida Key Deer Refuge, home to fewer than 1,000 of the endangered Key deer.

The unique subspecies of white-tailed deer about 3 feet (1 meter) tall at the shoulder, the size of a large dog, but wildlife officials were not immediately concerned that the herd had been lost to floodwaters.

Dan Clark is refuge manager for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex. He says the deer are "excellent swimmers."

Clark evacuated his staff Wednesday, and he spoke with The Associated Press by phone from Pinellas County.

He says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff planned to return as soon as weather permitted to begin assessing how the deer and other endangered species fared throughout the narrow, low-lying island chain.

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5:15 p.m.

Police in Florida have arrested nine people who were caught on TV cameras looting sneakers and other goods from a sporting goods store and a pawn shop during Hurricane Irma.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the group was arrested Sunday as the storm roared across South Florida. Maglione called the idea of stealing sneakers during a hurricane "a fairly bad life choice."

Local TV images showed the alleged looters running in and out of a store through a broken window carrying boxes of sneakers.

It wasn't immediately clear what charges those arrested would face. Their identities also were not immediately released.

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5:15 p.m.

South Florida Water Management District chief engineer John Mitnik says it will probably be 7 p.m. Sunday before the storm surge in Miami completely subsides. He said the district is prepared for the storm surge expected on the Gulf coast and will have crews out repairing canals and drainage equipment as soon as it is safe.

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5:15 p.m.

wildlife officials say Florida residents and visitors should stay away from sea turtle nests and refrain from any attempts to save them from Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says in a news release that the public must not interfere with any sea turtle eggs, even if they think they're helping.

Officials say sea turtles have a nesting strategy that accommodates natural storm events, with each female depositing several nests throughout the season. No storm season is a total loss for Florida's sea turtles. Even in 2004, when Florida sustained direct hits from several hurricanes, officials say 42 percent of state's loggerhead nests hatched, well within the normal range.

Anyone who sees exposed turtle eggs or nests should contact wildlife officials.

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5:15 p.m.

Officials are warning boaters to stay away from the Florida Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said in an email Sunday evening that nearshore waters are filled with navigation hazards like debris, sunken boats, loose boats, buoys and markers.

Residents with boats already in the Keys should avoid driving them in the nearshore waters.

Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday morning in Cudjoe Key.

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4:30 p.m.

The Marco Island police department is warning people who didn't evacuate to get to higher floors in their buildings.

The department issued the warning in a tweet on Sunday just as Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island.

Forecasts have called for life-threatening storm surge of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) along the coast.

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4:30 p.m.

The University of Miami will not reopen either its main campus in Coral Gables or its Marine campus before Sept. 18 while it assesses the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

The school says it is "proactively planning the recovery process." Numerous out-of-state students went back home last week to wait out the storm and it remains unclear when they will even be able to travel back to South Florida.

Miami's annual football rivalry game with Florida State has already been pushed back to Oct. 7. It had been scheduled for Sept. 16 in Tallahassee, the state capital that is also in Irma's projected path.

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4:30 p.m.

Electric car maker Tesla says it has temporarily increased the battery capacity of some of its cars to help drivers escaping Hurricane Irma.

The Electric car maker said the battery boost was applied to Model S and X cars in the Southeast. Some drivers only buy 60 or 70 kilowatt hours of battery capacity, but a software change will give them access to 75 kilowatt hours of battery life until Saturday. Depending on the model, that could let drivers travel about 40 more miles before they would need to recharge their cars.

Tesla said it made the change after a customer asked the company for help evacuating. The company said it's possible it will make similar changes in response to similar events in the future.

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3:45 p.m.

Irma has made landfall on Marco Island, Florida, as a Category 3 hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm made landfall at 3:35 p.m.

Category 3 storms have winds from 111 to 129 mph, but 130-mph wind gust was recently reported by the Marco Island police department.

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3:30 p.m.

More than 2.1 million customers have lost power in Florida with Hurricane Irma striking the state.

Florida Power & Light reported the numbers Sunday afternoon. The utility, which services much of south Florida, says more than 845,000 of those customers are in Miami-Dade County.

Duke Energy, the dominant utility in the northern half of Florida, has about 13,000 outages with the outer bands of Irma sweeping across the region.

The power companies say they have extra crews on hand to try to restore power - when it becomes safe to do so.

FPL spokesman Rob Gould says an estimated 3.4 million homes and businesses will lose power once the worst of Irma reaches the Florida mainland.

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3:30 p.m.

Hurricane Irma is affecting the House of Representative's work schedule in Washington.

A notice from the House majority leader's office says the House now doesn't plan to take any votes Monday because of "the large number of absences" as a result of the storm.

The first votes of the week are expected Tuesday evening.

The House leadership will keep tabs on the situation and announce updates as necessary.

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3:15 p.m.

The eye of Hurricane Irma is nearing Naples, Florida, and continues to cause destruction over a wide swath of South Florida.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma had winds of 120 mph (195 kilometers) and was centered 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Naples on Sunday afternoon. It was moving north at 12 mph (19 kilometers per hour). At that rate, the center of the storm should come ashore sometime between 4 and 5 p.m.

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3:30 p.m.

Hurricane Irma has pushed water out of a bay in Tampa, but forecasters are telling people not to venture out there, because it's going to return with a potentially deadly vengeance.

On Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, approximately 100 people were walking Sunday afternoon on what was Old Tampa Bay - a body of water near downtown. Hurricane Irma's winds and low tide have pushed the water unusually far from its normal position. Some people are venturing as far as 200 yards (180 meters) out to get to the water's new edge. The water is normally about 4 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) deep and reaches a seawall.

The U.S. Hurricane Center has sent out an urgent alert warning of a "life-threatening storm surge inundation of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) above ground level" and telling people to "MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!"

The waters retracted because the leading wind bands of Irma whipped the coastal water more out to sea. But once the eye passes and the wind reverses, the water will rush back in.

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3:30 p.m. Hurricane Irma is affecting the House of Representative's work schedule in Washington.

A notice from the House majority leader's office says the House now doesn't plan to take any votes Monday because of "the large number of absences" as a result of the storm.

The first votes of the week are expected Tuesday evening.

The House leadership will keep tabs on the situation and announce updates as necessary.

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3:15 p.m.

Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso says a second tower crane has collapsed into a building under construction in the city's downtown area. Alfonso told The Associated Press that the crane collapsed in a large development with multiple towers being built by Grand Paraiso.

Another crane collapsed earlier Sunday onto a high-rise building that's under construction in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena. Officials said no one was injured as the result of either crane's collapse.

High winds are impeding Miami authorities' ability to reach the cranes, and authorities are urging people to avoid the areas.

Alfonso says the approximately two-dozen other cranes in the city are still upright and built to withstand significant wind gusts.

The 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 (13,600 kilograms), is a slow process that would have taken about two weeks, according to city officials.

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2 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says a slightly weakened but still powerful Irma will slam the Naples and Marco Island with its strongest winds in a couple of hours.

Irma's winds dropped to 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour), down from 130 mph, and forecasters say it should weaken a bit more before landfall. But it still expected to a strong major hurricane as it rakes Florida from its western edges across to the east.

The storm is 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Naples and has picked up speed moving north at 12 mph (19 kilometers per hour).

The now Category 3 hurricane will keep on battering all of South Florida with high wind and surge, forecasters say. The Hurricane Center in western Miami, across the state from the eye of the mammoth storm, recorded an 81 mph (130 kilometers per hour) wind gust.

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

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2 p.m.

An apparent tornado spun off by Hurricane Irma has destroyed six mobile homes in Florida.

Palm Bay Police Department Lt. Mike Bandish said no one was injured in Sunday's tornado, but that a 93-year-old man refused to leave his damaged home. He told Florida Today that officers tried to convince him to leave, but he wouldn't.

Palm Bay is on Florida's central Atlantic Coast near the Kennedy Space Center. The eye of Irma was hundreds of miles away when the tornado struck.

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2 p.m.

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke says she doesn't have any doubt that the federal government can respond to Hurricane Irma and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey simultaneously.

Duke spoke Sunday afternoon at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. Talking about efforts to respond to Irma in Florida and the aftermath of Harvey in Texas she says, "I know we're ready and ... I don't have any doubt ... that as a federal government we can do this and will do this."

Duke says she and FEMA chief Brock Long spoke earlier Sunday with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and that they are "absolutely pleased with the response" and that they "understand that we're just getting started in many ways."

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2 p.m.

Some exterior paneling of AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, home of the NBA's Heat, has been damaged by wind. The arena is near the downtown Miami location where a crane snapped as Irma pounded away Sunday. But a team official told The Associated Press that an initial investigation showed no structural damage. They'll investigate further once conditions make it safe for workers to be outside. The Heat do not play in the arena until their preseason opener on Oct. 1.

At Raymond James Stadium in Tampa - where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football - local, regional and statewide authorities are using the parking lots and surroundings as a staging area for high-water vehicles and equipment. On Saturday afternoon, several U.S. Marine amphibious vehicles were parked side by side, giant tanks that are ready to plunge into floodwater if needed.

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2 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says members of his family who evacuated from Naples ahead of Hurricane Irma are leaving again now that it appears the killer storm will descend on the state capital.

Scott's wife, First Lady Ann Scott, as well as his daughter, his son-in-law and grandchildren left southwest Florida and came to the state capital. Scott owns a waterfront mansion in an area that is in the path of the hurricane.

But Scott said Sunday that his daughter and grandchildren will be leaving Tallahassee to go to Washington, D.C. His daughter just gave birth to twins. Scott said it would be "tough for them if we lose power."

The governor said he doesn't know what storm preparations have taken place at the governor's mansion, located a few blocks north of the Capitol. He said he "hasn't really been there" because he has been in other parts of the state or at the state emergency operations center.

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2 p.m.

Major General Michael Calhoun, the head of Florida's National Guard, says that more than 10,000 National Guard members from other states are going to be coming into the state.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has already called up 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard to help with recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma. Those members have been dispatched to shelters around the state and will be involved in handing out supplies in storm-ravaged areas once Irma has passed through.

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2 p.m.

Georgia's governor has declared an emergency for the entire state as Hurricane Irma's approach triggers widespread severe-weather threats, including the first-ever tropical storm warning for Atlanta.

Gov. Nathan Deal's new emergency declaration came Sunday as Irma churned near Florida. The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm's center to cross Monday into southwest Georgia, where a hurricane warning was issued for communities including Albany and Valdosta.

Portions of western Alabama and coastal South Carolina were also under tropical-storm warnings.

The National Weather Service confirmed it had never before issued a tropical-storm warning for Atlanta, where wind gusts could reach 55 mph (88 kph). Meanwhile, Savannah and the rest of coastal Georgia were under evacuation orders for the second time since Hurricane Matthew brushed the region last October.

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2 p.m.

More than 500 emergency responders are sleeping on cots in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, waiting to dispatch to areas devastated by Hurricane Irma.

The Convention Center had planned to host an elevator-industry gathering this weekend. Instead, more than 1,000 emergency vehicles are lined up in its halls: boats, ambulances, fork lifts, buses, 18-wheelers, fire trucks, and 62 helicopters.

Rescue teams from Florida, Colorado, New York, California and Arizona were checking their gear and resting up so that they would be prepared to hit the road as soon as the storm clears. Some of those emergency workers never even made it home from responding to Hurricane Harvey before turning around and deploying to Florida.

Sean Gallagher is with the Florida Forest Service, which is coordinating the staging operation. He says the Convention Center's loading dock doors will close as soon as the winds in Orlando rise to hurricane levels to protect the vehicles and responders inside and won't open again until the winds die down.

Then, rapid response teams will rush into the most devastated areas to do recognizance and triage where the rescue operations are most needed.

Until then, they are crammed in the Convention Center's side rooms and cots. The Convention Center has pallets of 13,000 ready-to-eat meals.

Aaron Janssen is a helicopter mechanic with a medical aviation company. He's sleeping in a tent next to his helicopter, with his wife and 9-year-old Chihuahua named Marley. He didn't want to leave them behind at their Orlando home while he worked.

Marley spent the day chasing a pigeon around the hangar.

"She's loving it," he said. "She hadn't figured out yet that she's never going to catch that pigeon."

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2 p.m.

Miami Beach officials say emergency services have been suspended until winds drop below 40 mph (64 kph), and no one will be allowed into the city until roads have been cleared. The city would continue a mandatory 8 p.m. curfew for the next two nights.

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2 p.m.

Actor Robert De Niro says a resort development company he is involved with on Barbuda will work with local officials to help with reconstruction on the island devastated by Hurricane Irma.

De Niro says in a statement that he was "beyond saddened to learn of the devastation" in Barbuda.

The actor is a principal in the Paradise Found Nobu Resort planned for Barbuda. Construction has not yet started on the project.

He said the company will work with local officials to "to successfully rebuild  what nature has taken away from us."

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne says 90 percent of the structures and vehicles on the small island were destroyed in the storm. A 2-year-old boy was killed. About 1,400 people live on the island and most have now been evacuated to Antigua.

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2 p.m.

The State Department says it and the Defense Department are resuming their evacuation of U.S. citizens from Sint Maarten via a military flight to Puerto Rico.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says the department is communicating with Americans there through social media, radio, and by phone.

The department also is coordinating with AirBnB to identify and communicate with U.S. citizens not located at hotels who may have rented residences on the island.

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2 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says Hurricane Irma is a "storm of historic, epic proportions."

Pence spoke Sunday afternoon while visiting the headquarters of the Federal Emergenc

Source : http://www.kaaltv.com/national/the-latest-hurricane-irma-regains-category-4-strength/4599012/

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