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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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How the slightest shift kept Hurricane Irma from turning into an even worse disaster

Hurricane Irma approached Florida as a terrifying storm — by some measures the strongest ever to leave the Atlantic Ocean. It flattened Caribbean islands, devastated the Florida Keys and caused the largest evacuation in Florida's history.

But when Irma hit the Florida mainland, it immediately weakened and threaded the needle between the state's major cities.

It did far less damage than feared. With hundreds of lives and billions in property on the line, the way atmospheric forces nudged the storm just a few miles made all the difference.

Click to read "A matter of miles," our interactive story showing why the storm turned when it did, with images from space.

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