Sports The Marlins and Nationals played in a nearly empty stadium in Miami with Hurricane Irma looming

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Florida officials have already issued evacuation orders to residents in vulnerable areas, including parts of Miami, as Irma approaches.

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(Twitter/Dan Kolko)
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The Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals squared off in a nearly empty Marlins Park on Wednesday as Hurricane Irma bears down on south Florida.

State officials have already issued evacuation orders to residents in the Florida's most vulnerable areas, including Miami Beach and other barrier islands along the state's east coast.

Irma — a Category 5 hurricane that forecasters are calling one of the strongest storms in Atlantic history — has already ravaged islands in the Caribbean and is expected to reach Florida this weekend.

With the hurricane looming, it's understandable if Marlins fans had bigger things on their mind on Wednesday. Photos from the game showed an unusually thin crowd 15 minutes before the first pitch:

Things didn't look any better by the time the game got underway:

And here's a look at the crowd around the game's midway point:

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(MLB)

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(Screenshot/Mark Abadi)

Attendance figures for Wednesday's game are not yet available, but the turnout is clearly lower than the Marlins' average of 20,000 this year. The team regularly ranks among the worst in attendance in Major League Baseball, although Wednesday's turnout warrants no criticism.

Wednesday's game is the Marlins' last in Miami before Hurricane Irma is expected to hit. The team is traveling to Atlanta and Philadelphia for a seven-game road trip and is scheduled to play its first game back in Miami on September 15.