Forty years since the Fastnet race storm

The Fastnet race storm happened almost 40 years ago on the 13-14th of August 1979. The Fastnet race from Plymouth around the lighthouse on Fastnet rock and back again started in 1925. The fifteen yachtsmen who were taking part in the twenty-eight race lost their lives when an Atlantic depression unexpectedly intensified as it approached the southwest of Ireland. I’m not going to go over the facts of the matter that are briefly mentioned in this short Wikipedia article. I was going to present an animation of six hourly MSLP charts but the resolution of the NCEP reanalysis data that I have is far too crude to show the intensity of low ‘Y’. I do however have limited SYNOP observations for that time, and so here is the chart for 00 UTC on the 14th of August. It does make you wonder if a disaster like this could ever happen again in these days of satellite, super-computers and sophisticated NWP models.

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