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Hurricane Irma Batters Cuba on Way to Florida

Cuba’s northern coast suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Irma early Saturday, with state media reporting widespread damage to buildings. The Esmeraldo Weather Center in Camagüey Archipelago said meteorologists measured winds of up to 124 mph before the weather gauge blew off. Waves were reportedly more than 16 feet high, and hospitals, factories, and warehouses suffered major damage. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but nearly 1 million people were evacuated from Cuba’s northern coast just before Irma hit as a Category 5 hurricane late Friday. The storm was downgraded to a Category 4 as it moved along the coast and headed west through Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara provinces on Saturday. The center of the storm was about 245 miles from Miami early Saturday, with meteorologists saying wind gusts of up to 65 mph were already blowing through parts of Miami.