Diagram showing ingredients needed for severe ...
Diagram showing ingredients needed for severe weather. The red arrow shows the position of the low level jet stream, while the blue arrow shows the location of the upper level jet stream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PDS  —  (particularly dangerous situation) 

(Part 1)

Dennis studied the weather patterns on his laptop.  A cool fast jet stream was projected to loop across the middle of the country and warm moist air was rushing up from the Gulf.  The cool air and warm front were on a collision course.  Conditions were ripe for an outbreak of severe weather, which included heavy rains, hail, and tornados. This was not what he was hoping for.

This set of conditions could be dangerous for a storm chaser and most chasers chose to have highly defined parameters.  Dennis was single and lived life more precariously.  Some of the other storm chasers secretly claimed he had a death wish.

Although Dennis dared pushing close to super cells, hoping to see a tornado touch down, he always had escape plans should something go wrong.  This time, with conditions ripe for multiple powerful super cells, he was a little uneasy.  He did not want to get trapped between storms with no place to run or seek shelter.

He checked the updates and projections.  He noted that several meteorologists were labeling the potential storms as a PDS, a particularly dangerous situation.  This alert didn’t frighten him but it did make him consider some of his options. Tomorrow, after he’d studied the models one more time, he’d finalize his plans.  Tonight, though, he’d be a cool wind blowing about town.  He would relax and have some fun.  He headed to a local bar where there were friends to drink with and if he was lucky, a woman who would find him fascinating.

While Dennis was on his way, a stranger, Marilyn, was sipping rum and colas.  She was alone at a table, rejecting all offers for company.  She was up from the Gulf coast, getting away from her house, getting away from Travis, her ex.  He had been stalking her for the last three months, ever since she had kicked him out of her house and life.

She didn’t need another man, one who would take advantage of her soft heart. She was thinking over the last three years and realizing what a fool she’d been, letting Travis make inroads and letting him take over her apartment and life.

For two years they had been together but finally she’d had enough.  She couldn’t put up with any more abuse or his lying, deceitful ways.  He’d never be faithful or treat her with respect.  She’d given him numerous chances but the results were always the same.  He’d disappear for a few days and then return, act sorry, beg for another chance, and shower her with cheap gifts.  But after a few days of staying around the house he would find some excuse for an argument, threaten her, and then leave.

She wanted one man, one who was faithful and wanted a lasting relationship.  She knew Travis could not be that man, so she told him to get out.  If she couldn’t find a man that could be honest and true, she would do without.  At least that was the plan.

Marilyn realized that Travis might snap when she broke up with him.  Travis was mentally fragile and she had always considered his state of mind.  She had always been afraid of what he might do if things didn’t go his way.  With or without alcohol or drugs he had violent tendencies.  His past was littered with people who had been hurt or killed, but nothing was ever proven in court.

Travis had other quirks she didn’t like. He didn’t share the rent or help in any way, and yet he acted as if she was his slave.  She was beyond the point of caring for Travis.  She wanted a new life and a new love.  The only way she thought she could escape from Travis was to run and take a new identity.

Marilyn had accidentally discovered this bar earlier while looking for an apartment.  It was close to the main part of town and she felt safe. In the afternoon the bar was quiet and had only two or three patrons. It was just what she was looking for while getting her bearings.  She had not considered how quickly things could change. She was like the warm front that had entered a PDS zone.

In the meantime Travis was brooding about his own circumstances. Marilyn had forced him out without any valid reasons. They weren’t married or anything.  She didn’t have the right to tell him who his friends were or who he could sleep with. He belonged there.  Although he didn’t pay any rent or expenses, according to his way of thinking he must have some rights.

When he had showed up at the apartment at 3 a.m. and demanded she let him in, she had promptly called the police.  He pounded on the door but was gone before the police arrived but he knew she would be in tears telling her story.  “He’s lost it! He said he would kill me if I didn’t cooperate!”

Travis knew that was the truth but she didn’t have to tell the police.  All he wanted was to let things continue as they were.  He didn’t like being tied down with responsibilities.

As Marilyn nursed her drink, she didn’t know that Travis was outside in the shadows, waiting for her and expecting to force her back into their usual life. A man should tell his woman how things were going to be and then enforce his expectations.  He wasn’t going to let her ruin the things he wanted.

Marilyn had left her old life behind. Two drinks and she was already starting to relax. She just wanted to dance her cares away, a warm moist body looking for cool company.  It was a particularly dangerous situation.

Dennis was like a cool wind as he came through the doors.  He immediately joined his friends when he arrived.  He was aware, however, of a beautiful woman sitting alone at a table.  He glanced at her several times, trying to decide whether she was waiting for someone or really alone.

After a few minutes he sauntered over and asked, “May I join you?”

Marilyn replied, “Sure, if you’ll tell me about yourself.”  She was ready for conversation, a little romance, and a change in her life’s direction.

Outside the bar Travis was still waiting.  He didn’t expect Marilyn to stay inside so long.  He wanted to join her as she left the bar.  His argument was prepared.  He’d say, “You had no right to kick me out of the apartment.  We’d been together too long for you to just tell me to leave.  That other woman meant nothing.  She was just a passing fancy and it’s already over. What were you concerned about?  I always came back.”

A TV was on. The Weather Channel was blaring as a meteorologist explained the very dangerous conditions ahead.  “Through the middle section of the country there’s potential for extremely violent weather.”  She pointed to the west coast and said, “The cold jet stream will be racing across these mountains and will meet warm moist air across this large area.  There could be violent storms, capable of producing many tornadoes.  It’s a PDS.”

The bartender changed the channel so the patrons could watch sports.  Then he leaned over and told Dennis,   “I’m getting tired of seeing references to the weather.  That stuff never happens.  It’s just to scare people so they continue watching.  Something real like basketball or baseball, now that’s something to watch.”

Dennis was not as cool as he appeared.  For some unknown reason this woman seemed mysterious.   He tried a safe line, hoping Marilyn wouldn’t pin him to the wall.  “Up until I met you, I led a very tame life.”

“Oh, please,” Marilyn said.  “If you can’t tell the simple truth, I don’t want to listen.”

She wasn’t encouraging, but she didn’t tell him to leave either. Dennis started again.  “I’m a meteorologist and I chase storms.”

“That’s enough.  Go back to your group until you grow up and can tell me the honest truth.”

Dennis started to get up but he sank back into his chair.  “That is the truth.  Do I need to prove it to you?”

Marilyn looked at Dennis skeptically.  “Explain what you do.”

Half an hour later he was still going over details.  She listened intently, asking questions that made him go into greater depth.  He couldn’t remember the last time he had talked so much.

At that moment one of Dennis’s friends called out, “Dennis, why are you still here?  I thought you wanted to be rested before you went tornado wrestling.”

“Yes, I know, but now I’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

Marilyn straightened up.  “Take me with you tomorrow.  I want to see what a storm chaser does.”

(To be continued)

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