Bridge that collapsed in Miami was designed to withstand Category 5 hurricane

MIAMI, Florida — On paper, the 40-foot wide pedestrian bridge on Florida International University's campus was an engineering feat, boasting several superlatives.Here are some, as outlined by the university: It was designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Its durability was supposed to exceed 100 years. It's the first bridge in the world to be constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete: It's made of titanium dioxide which, when exposed to sunlight, captures pollutant particles from the air and cleans its own concrete surfaces. It was installed in just a few hours just five days ago, although its construction wasn't finished. The main span was built nearby to avoid traffic interruption and moved using a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled system that carried and set the 950-ton section. It's called Self-Propelled Modular Transportation and this was the largest pedestrian bridge in US history to be moved using this method. Continue Reading

Irma strengthens to a Category 5 hurricane: NHC

(Reuters) - Irma on Tuesday intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.Hurricane Irma is about 270 miles (440 km) east of Antigua and packing maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said.Irma, which is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days, will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday, the NHC said. (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru)(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Click For Restrictions Continue Reading

Meteorological monsters: Only 3 Category-5 hurricanes have ever hit the U.S.

It's been 25 years since a Category 5 hurricane struck the U.S., and Irma could potentially become just the fourth storm of that strength to barrel into the states.Hurricane Irma is a monster storm in the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph. Only one Atlantic hurricane on record, Allen in 1980, contained stronger winds, at 190 mph. The only Category 5 hurricanes to hit the U.S. are Andrew in 1992, Camille in 1969 and an unnamed storm in 1935. Hurricane Irma: What we know now and where it's headed next Emergency kits: How to prepare for a hurricane After tearing through the Caribbean, Irma could potentially slam into the U.S. by the weekend or early next week. However, it's expected — for now — to lose some steam, becoming a Category 4 before it nears the U.S.The five hurricane categories of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale are defined solely by wind speed, and don't take storm surge, heavy rain or barometric pressure into account. Any hurricane with winds of 157 mph or greater is a Category 5. More: How your smartphone can help in an emergency More: What you need to know about flood insurance These monster storms cause "catastrophic damage," the National Hurricane Center said. Category 5 hurricanes destroy a high percentage of homes, often causing total roof failure and wall collapses. Fallen trees and power poles isolate residential areas. Power outages last for weeks or months. And areas can be uninhabitable for the same time frame. 1935 'Labor Day' hurricaneThe strongest hurricane on record to hit the U.S. roared into the Florida Keys on Sept. 2, 1935. The storm was later nicknamed the Florida Keys or Labor Day hurricane because of where and when it hit. The hurricane rushed ashore as a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 185 mph as it crossed the Florida Keys between Key West and Miami.The Continue Reading

Category 5 Hurricane Irma maintains 185 mph winds as it nears land; Florida in its path

Hurricane Irma's winds remained at 185 mph as it drew closer to the Leeward Islands, according to the 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Location: 50 miles east-northeast of Antigua Maximum sustained winds: 185 mph Movement: west at 15 mph Next advisory: 11 p.m.At 11 p.m., the eye of Hurricane Irma was 50 miles east-northeast of Antigua and 50 miles east-southeast of Barbuda. Irma is moving toward the west near 15 mph. A turn toward the west-northwest is expected tonight, and that movement should continue over the next few days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma is forecast to move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday. It is then expected to move over the northern Virgin Islands Wednesday, and pass near or just north of Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night.Reports from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate maximum sustained winds have increased to near 185 mph, with higher gusts.   More: Your complete hurricane coverage More: Hurricane Irma: What you need to know Irma is an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days. More: More about Hurricane Irma  Interactive: Hurricane IrmaHurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles. Local impactGov. Rick Scott Monday afternoon declared a state of emergency for Florida's 67 counties. He issued the executive order to give local governments time, resources and flexibility to prepare for Irma. President Donald Trump approved the declaration Tuesday evening. More: Gov. Scott declares state of emergency as Hurricane Irma Continue Reading

Maria makes landfall on Dominica as Category 5 hurricane; warnings issued for Puerto Rico

Warnings and watches lit up across the Caribbean on Monday as Hurricane Maria gained strength and roared toward islands already hobbled by the carnage of Hurricane Irma.Maria, which grew to a Category 5 hurricane Monday night, had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph at 8 p.m. ET.  At 9:15 p.m. ET Monday, the ferocious storm had touched land on Dominica, the National Hurricane Center said. After pounding Dominica with high winds, Maria weakened slightly to a still-dangerous Category 4 storm.The National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday that top sustained winds had fallen slightly to 155 mph and that high winds were starting to diminish over Dominica.The storm is moving west-northwest at 9 mph on a course that threatens other parts of the Caribbean including Puerto Rico.In a series of Facebook posts, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit captured the fury of the storm as it made landfall on the mountainous island.“The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts. He later said: “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”Seven minutes later Skerrit posted that he had been rescued.Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the government has prepared hundreds of shelters capable of housing more than 100,000 evacuees if necessary.The National Weather Service in Puerto Rico warned that "catastrophic winds" are expected from Maria beginning Tuesday afternoon. "Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months."In addition, "major to record rains and flooding are expected to accompany Maria," the weather service said.It is still too early to determine whether the storm will impact the U.S. East Coast — and any threat would not be until early next week — but a strike on Florida is still a possibility."We may luck out and it turns Continue Reading

Igor could soon become Category 5 hurricane in Atlantic

MIAMI - Powerful Hurricane Igor threatened to become a Category 5 storm Monday as it churned far out over the Atlantic Ocean.Igor was at Category 4 strength with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph (240 kph). But the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Igor could reach Category 5 strength later in the day.Igor was located about 940 miles (1,515 kilometers) east of the Northern Leeward Islands and was moving west near 13 mph (20 kph). A turn toward the west-northwest was expected Monday night or Tuesday, the hurricane center said.Also in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Julia was moving westward, away from the southern Cape Verde Islands. Julia was about 85 miles (130 kilometers) west-southwest of the southernmost islands and moving west-northwest near 14 mph (23 kph). The storm's maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph (65 kph).Officials issued a tropical storm warning for parts of the Cape Verde Islands including Maio, Sao Tiago, Fogo and Brava. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Felix becomes Category 5 hurricane

ORANJESTAD, Aruba - Hurricane Felix rapidly strengthened into a dangerous Category 5 storm and churned on Monday toward Central America, where forecasters said it could arrive as a "potentially catastrophic" storm. Tourists jammed the airports seeking flights out. Felix was packing winds of up to 165 mph as it headed west, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. It could hit Honduras' coastline on Tuesday before slamming into Belize, where many residents were still cleaning up from last month's Hurricane Dean. "As it stands, we're still thinking that it will be a potentially catastrophic system in the early portions of this week," said Dave Roberts, a hurricane specialist at the center in Miami. Tourists filled Honduran airports seeking flights out before the storm, but some locals said they would ride it out. "The tourists, they're evacuating. We're staying here," said Estella Marazzito, who works at a real estate company on the Caribbean resort island of Roatan. "At this moment, it's what they call the calm before the storm. There isn't even a breeze," she said, but added, "We know it's a tremendous hurricane that's coming." In Belize, residents stocked up on water and food, and nailed boards over windows. People in low-lying areas moved to higher ground. And many were still cleaning up from last month's Hurricane Dean, which caused an estimated $100 million in damage, mostly to agriculture. "I stopped cleaning debris and trees from my yard (because it) might just get messed up again," said Wayne Leonardo. Hurricane warnings were issued for large stretches of the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts, and Belize and Guatemala issued hurricane watches. On Sunday, Felix toppled trees and flooded some homes on the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire in the southern Caribbean. Heavy rains and winds caused scattered power outages and forced thousands of tourists to take refuge in hotels, but it did less damage than feared as the storm's Continue Reading

Hurricane Felix makes landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 5 storm; Mexico braces for Henriette

Video: Felix bears down on Central AmericaCABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico - Felix walloped Central America's remote Miskito coastline and Henriette slammed into resorts on the tip of Baja California Tuesday as a record-setting hurricane season got even wilder with twin storms making landfall on the same day. Henriette's eye struck Los Cabos at around 2 p.m. (4 p.m. EDT, 2000 GMT), said Daniel Brown, a specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. That was roughly eight hours after Felix roared ashore before dawn as a Category 5 storm along Nicaragua's remote northeast corner - an isolated, swampy jungle where people get around mainly by canoe. The 260 kph (160 mph) winds peeled roofs off shelters and a police station, knocked down electric poles and stripped humble homes to a few walls in Puerto Cabezas, where most buildings were damaged and the dock was destroyed. There were no immediate reports of deaths, and Felix weakened to a Category 1 storm with winds of 120 kph (75 mph) by Tuesday afternoon. But forecasters worried that up to 64 centimeters (25 inches) of rain would drench inland towns and cause mudslides in the mountain capitals of Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City, where shantytowns cling precariously to hillsides. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch parked over the same region for days, causing deadly flooding and mudslides that killed nearly 11,000 people and left more than 8,000 missing. The Honduran government was letting water out of dams in an attempt to reduce flooding, and 10,000 people were being evacuated from high-risk areas of the capital, mostly from poor neighborhoods and street markets that ring the city. "If they don't do it voluntarily, we will force them," Tegucigalpa Mayor Ricardo Alvarez said. "We have 500 soldiers and 200 police for just that purpose." At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), Felix's center was 175 kms (110 miles) west of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and it was moving westward at near 22 kph (14 mph), the U.S. Hurricane Continue Reading

Hurricane Felix roars to Belize as Category 5

ORANJESTAD, Aruba - Hurricane Felix strengthened into a dangerous Category 5 storm yesterday and churned its way into the open waters of the Caribbean Sea after toppling trees and flooding some homes on a cluster of Dutch islands.The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Felix was packing maximum sustained winds of 165 mph as it plowed westward toward Central America, where it was expected to skirt Honduras' coastline tomorrow before slamming into Belize on Wednesday as a hurricane capable of massive destruction.Yesterday, Felix lashed Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire with rains and winds. Felix is the second hurricane and the second Category 5 storm of the Atlantic storm season. Hurricane Dean, which killed 27 people, crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula last month as a Category 5 storm.Before the 2005 hurricane season, only two years had seen more than one Category 5 hurricane. The 2005 season experienced four, including Katrina.  Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Category 5 Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu, could be worst storm in South Pacific island chain’s history

An intense cyclone hit Vanuatu Friday as forecasters predicted it could be the worst natural disaster the tiny South Pacific island chain has ever seen. Category 5 Cyclone Pam made landfall late Friday, packing 168-mile winds, relief workers said. The tropical storm is the strongest to make landfall since a super typhoon hit the Philippines in 2013, CNN reported. University of Wisconsin forecasters predicted Pam's pressure may be as low as 890 millibars, the Weather Channel reported. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm: The most intense storm ever recorded was 1979’s Super Typhoon Tip with an 870-millibar. There are unconfirmed reports of death on the islands, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported, but it’s not clear how many have died. Flooding has also been reported in the nation's coastal cities. The nation’s disaster management office issued a red alert for the entire island chain ahead of the storm’s landfall, fearing it would destroy homes and cause landslides. All residents were urged to take shelter. Located about a quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii, Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands. About 47,000 people live in its capital. Cyclone Pam has already caused damage to other Pacific islands including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. It’s forecast to pass New Zealand on Sunday and Monday. There have been nine Category 5 cyclones in the South Pacific since recording started in the 1970s, the Weather Channel reported. The last was in 2010. The Atlantic Ocean hasn’t seen a Category 5 hurricane since 2007. With News Wire Services ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading