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Sep 17, 2010 9:24 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Hurricane Karl a major storm

Forecasters say Hurricane Karl has grown into a major storm today as it takes aim at Mexico's Gulf Coast near ports and oil installations.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Karl has grown with surprising speed into a powerful Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph.

The Mexican government issued a hurricane warning for a 186-mile stretch of coast in Veracruz state, stretching northward from the city of the same name.

Authorities in Veracruz state - whose southern half has suffered severe flooding over the past few weeks - are braced for a hit on its northern coast.

They've preparing sleeping mats, bottled water and other supplies for anyone taking refuge in shelters.

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