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Fastnet Redux depth of fifty thousand to sixty thousand feet. By noon (GMT) on Monday, August 13, the storm had crossed the Atlantic and was positioned five hundred miles southwest of Fastnet Rock. It was registering a pressure of one thousand seven millibars (one thousand millibars equals thirty inches of mercury, or normal atmospheric pressure). “A pimple,� Rice calls it at that point. But now it was entering the periphery of the Icelandic Low, sliding off an upper-level high-pressure ridge into a trough. It hit the jackpot in the form of a pool of very cold air aloft that was in a perfect position to move in. The air pool carried temperatures of minus twenty-five to thirty degrees Celsius, unusual for that time of year. That is the kind of super-cold air that nourishes the vicious winter storms that regularly lash the Irish Sea. The storm system eagerly sucked the cold air in through its wake, and in just six hours it had acquired considerable muscle. By 6 p.m. (GMT), its center was within one hundred fifty miles of the southwestern tip of Ireland, and it now measured nine hundred ninety-five millibars. It was deepening rapidly, Rice says. Storms will usually attain wind speeds relative to their pressure gradient. A given millibar spac168

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