In case you missed it, the recent video of patio furniture being blown off of balconies at a downtown Miami condominium went viral and made local and national headlines. It shows what appears to be a significant number of chaise lounges, chairs and cushions flying extremely high into the air over the Miami streets and then plummeting down onto Biscayne Blvd. and Museum Park.
Needless to say, wind-blown debris from high-rises can be extremely dangerous, and this is not the first time that it has happened in Miami. National Weather Service science officer Kevin Scharfenberg, who works at the agency’s Miami office, told the Miami Herald that the last time a storm in the area blew furniture into the air was in March of last year.
In that incident, a glass tabletop was blown from the ninth floor of a building, hitting a maintenance worker who tragically later died at a nearby hospital as a result.
After viewing the recent video, Scharfenberg was quoted in the Miami Herald’s report indicating that he believes winds as high as 70 mph were present at the time the video was shot.
South Florida is prone to severe tropical thunderstorms that bring extremely strong winds, and these recent incidents and video serve as a reminder of the importance for condominium associations, especially high-rise buildings, to address this issue with their owners and residents. With the help of experienced association counsel and property management, association board members should consider appropriate rules and regulations concerning balconies, patios and terraces, including the placement and storage of patio furniture and other items on those areas, together with communications alerting members and residents of the dangers and potential liability caused by wind-blown debris.
The level of exposure to potential incidents such as these will vary greatly among South Florida condominiums. Association directors should take the property’s level of risk for these incidents into account in determining the measures and communications that should be implemented.
Watch the astounding video below.