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Hurricane Irma Hurtles Toward Florida

MIAMI — With the window closing fast for anyone wanting to escape, Irma hurtled toward Florida with 125 mph winds Saturday on a shifting course that threatened the first direct hit on the Tampa area from a major hurricane in nearly a century.

That represented a significant turn in the forecast, which for days had made it look instead as if the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people was going to get slammed head-on by the Big One.

“You don’t want to play with this thing,” Sen. Marco Rubio warned during a visit to the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center. “People will die from this.”

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