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Fastnet Redux ing will support a certain amount of wind. But if the pressure of a storm system falls rapidly, more air will force its way in and the resulting wind speeds will be higher than what might be expected ~ so-called super gradient winds. The Fastnet storm was a rapidly developing system. Rice said he would give it a score of eight out of ten so far as speed of development was concerned. In just two hours, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (GMT), the pressure dropped from nine hundred ninety-five to nine hundred eighty-nine millibars. “Three millibars per hour,” Rice says, “is a very big drop. Impressive.” Some-

where near midnight on Monday the storm peaked, with a millibar reading of nine hundred seventyfive to nine hundred eighty. The storm had attained maximum development in just twelve hours. Rice says that is extraordinary. The explosive growth of the storm was the key to its violent nature. The rapid change of pressure produced gusting in excess of seventy knots. Since it was a young storm, it didn’t cover much territory. It remained small, forcing the high winds within it to race around in a tight, cyclonic (counterclockwise) pattern. As such a storm passes over an area, the wind shifts will be more pronounced, more frequent. For those

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