Hurricane Irma hit South Florida hard this weekend, transforming major thoroughfares like Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard into rivers, and snapping tower cranes in Downtown Miami like twigs.
Although the National Hurricane Center downgraded Irma to a tropical storm on Monday morning, it warned that some of its wind gusts were still “near hurricane force,” and the damage to Miami had already been done.
The deadly storm did not even directly hit Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but the eye of the storm still dumped several feet of water on the areas, flooding Brickell Avenue with three feet of water and Biscayne Boulevard with water almost up to a reporter’s knee, according to the Miami Herald.
Additionally, an 11-second video posted to social media shows the storm ripping the roof off a two-story apartment building in Miami on NE 5th Avenue, according to Fox News.
At least two cranes collapsed during the storm as well: one at Property Markets Group’s 30-story luxury residential building at 300 Biscayne Boulevard and one at Related Group’s GranParaiso condominium tower on Northeast 31st Street.
Representatives for both developers said there were no injuries in either collapse, and they were working with authorities to secure the sites.
Flooding from Irma could represent a major threat to condo buyers looking to Miami for long-term investments as well as the city’s tourism industry.
In Brickell, Miami’s financial district, water on Sunday morning ran over a seawall and toward a cluster of office and condo high-rises, and wind knocked over concrete planters and washed up against sand bags near Bayfront Park. Officials from the City of Miami did not have an estimate for how high the water was, although projections were between two and four feet.
Despite the damage, some parts of South Florida were left largely untouched, including Tigertail Avenue in Coconut Grove, Ocean Drive in Miami Beach and Purdy Avenue in Sunset Harbour, according to news reports. Issues were more severe farther north and south, with knee-high water on parts of 71st Street in North Beach and hip-high water at parts of Old Town in Key West.
However, some residents said the damage was actually not as bad as they had feared.
“We did better than we anticipated,” resident Robert Phillips told the Herald. “It’s just trees and foliage and cars.” [Miami Herald] and [Fox News] – Eddie Small