Irma's winds knock down three cranes in South Florida

Three cranes have collapsed Sunday as Hurricane Irma's powerful winds lashed southern Florida, and officials warn there could be more such incidents given the area's building boom and the intensifying conditions.

The first crane, which came crashing down in downtown Miami Sunday morning, was next to the federal prison in front of the courthouse, WSVN reported. Strong wind gusts ravaging the city could cause more cranes to collapse as Irma marches up the state's west coast.

"We're telling people that if you live by a construction site you should evacuate."

- Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority

"A tower crane has collapsed on top of a high rise under construction at 300 Biscayne Blvd. AVOID THE AREA!!" the city of Miami reported.

A second crane collapsed later Sunday into a building that's under construction, also in downtown Miami. Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said the crane got knocked over into a large development. 

Two dozen cranes hang over residents’ heads with the horizontal arms of the tall tower devices hanging loose because they couldn’t be tied down or moved. City officials told people to leave if they live in a path of these cranes.

"We're telling people that if you live by a construction site you should evacuate," Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority, said on Thursday. "The winds are so strong that it's not known what will happen."

A third crane collapsed later Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Patrick Campbell, vice president of The Related Group, which is developing the site where the crane is, said he didn’t believe there was any additional damage from the falling crane.

City Manager Lee Feldman told the Sun Sentinel that  there were no injuries from the crane’s collapse. 

Miami officials initially said it was a “slow process that can take about two weeks” to remove the loose crane booms in the city. The cranes are designed to withstand winds up to 145 mph. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.