Cloud Seeding Reduces Hail Chances - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Cloud Seeding Reduces Hail Chances

Cloud seeding operations underway in Texoma continues to attract the attention of people nationwide.

There are two methods used to cloud seed which includes precipitation enhancement and hail suppression.

The city of Wichita Falls is under a precipitation enhancement contract with Seeding Operations and Atmospheric Research also known as S.O.A.R.  Precipitation enhancement uses fewer flares compared to hail suppression which requires a permit that the city of Wichita Falls does not have.

Both processes use the same silver iodide flares.  The only difference is the way it’s seeded.

“Precipitation enhancement only requires one airplane, but in a hail suppression scenario, we’d go out there and on the same cloud we’d have two airplanes, one at the top and one at the bottom.  We might fire up to 60 flares in that cloud and we would try to make it rain itself out while precipitation enhancement we would fire much less around 10 flares,” said S.O.A.R. Project Manager Gary Walker.

Data has shown cloud seeding can also have a big impact during severe weather.

The hail suppression method is used to lower the chance of hail developing.  It can make the size of hail smaller or even prevent hail from forming.  Cloud seeding operators tackle clouds before its temperatures drop and water accumulates to form ice.

“When you seed the clouds with the silver iodide flares, you’re pulling that moisture out from the upper levels so that it never does become hail,” said Brian Moore, Assistant Manager of Operations.

“As moisture falls out of those upper levels of the clouds and descends down in the atmosphere towards the earth, the temperatures increase and the combination with friction changes the ice to a raindrop,” said Walker.

Hail suppression is mainly used in Texas for agricultural reasons.  Countries such as Argentina, Greece and Canada often rely on this method.


Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6. 
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