Cloud Seeding - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Cloud Seeding

The city of Wichita Falls is clearing the runway for a new cloud seeding project.  The seeding operations of the project will be carried out by Seeding Operations and Atmospheric Research, also known as SOAR.  The company will seed the clouds by setting off flares filled with silver iodide.

So what is silver iodide?  It's similar to ice, except silver iodide gathers moisture until water droplets can form and drop.  Rebecca Dodge, an Associate Professor at Midwestern State University said, while the silver iodide will cause more clouds to form it won't cause chemical contamination to the drinking water.

"It does not damage ecosystems; it does not damage humans who drink the water or animals.  They have studied this all over the world and it is not a problem," said Dodge.

Gary Walker is the pilot and project director for SOAR.  He said cloud seeding is the right option for drought stricken Wichita Falls.

"Precipitation enhancement is by far the cheapest new supply that you can find of water.  Other water supplies require digging, reservoirs and waiting for the bank or the wells, and pipelines to bring water from other sources.  Water will continue to be a big issue," said Walker.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, predicts weather patterns in Texoma to return to normal this year.  Walker said with weather patterns expected to bring in more clouds it's crucial that the city does everything it can to make sure every cloud that comes our way is drained of every water droplet.  Dodge said that she agrees the time to seed is now.

"If you're going to do it, when the rainfall returns to normal patterns is the time to do it," said Dodge.

The city of Wichita Falls will have to wait to see if normal rainfall and cloud seeding can help lake levels return to normal.

Jack Carney, Newschannel 6

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