Imagine a powerful nor'easter over the North Atlantic Ocean, with winds over 70 miles per hour building waves four stories high. Now spice up this already formidable storm with moisture and energy from a dying hurricane.

Then, let this meteorological time bomb "back up" toward the East Coast, its center passing just 150 miles off the Delmarva peninsula, bringing record tides to the Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland coasts. Finally, imagine the center of this tempest morphing into a tropical storm over the warm Gulf Stream current, and then strengthening into a hurricane before running out of gas over Nova Scotia.

This was the life history of a real storm that pounded the North Atlantic for a week in late October and early November of 1991. Some meteorologists call it the Halloween Storm. To others, and to moviegoers this summer, this is the "Perfect Storm".

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