California is experiencing one of its droughts. Not enough rain for us in a few years. Despite what some may say the drought is not the result of there being more democrats or that God hates us. Nor is it a sign of the apocalypse. Sorry. We go through these, we are a dry state.
“It’s important to note that California’s drought, while extreme, is not an uncommon occurrence for the state. In fact, multi-year droughts appear regularly in the state’s climate record, and it’s a safe bet that a similar event will happen again. Thus, preparedness is key,” said Richard Seager, the lead author and professor with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.
Although Mr Seager is correct, it does not help me right now. MY poor grass is dead; my flowers are on sever rations. I prefer not to water the yard, as I like drinking and cooking with water. Any way it has gotten me thinking that perhaps we need to think of some other ways to create Rain. Maybe a dance, maybe we need Mr. Hatfield’s Secret Formula.
Charles Mallory Hatfield
In Fort Scott, Kansas on July 15, 1875 was born the future pluviculturer, Charles Mallory Hatfield. When he grew up he was at first a salesman for the New Home Sewing Machine Company and after moving to Glendale, California he gave that up to become a professional Rain Maker. Promoter Fred Binney starting to promote Hatfield and soon farmers saw Hatfield’s face on ad papers all over the place. They would pay him 50, $100 dollars to make it rain and Hatfield would find a high place to mix his “Secret Formula” and let it evaporate into the air. Due to Hatfield’s Formula and his amateur weather savvy he was successful at making it rain. Successful enough that the city of San Diego, in the grip of a drought made contract with him. Hatfield promised that he will fill the Morena reservoir with water to the brim for 10,000., payable upon the promised rain. Hatfield and his brother built a two-foot tower ad high above the lake he mixed his secret formula and let the team go up into the clouds. It rained. Boy, it rained. It rained so much the reservoir was filled within 25 days. Happy with his success, Hatfield went to San Diego to get his fee. Unfortunately, that much rain that soon caused major flooding an d created a lot of damage to bridges and homes. The flooding ruined railroad tracks and broke two other dames. When Hatfield asked for his fee, they mentioned the damages and of course they blamed, Hatfield. When he insisted on his fees, they told him he owed the city 2.8 million for the damages. After years of suing for his fee eventually, it was ruled an” Act of God” and he was left with nothing.
Before Hatfield even thought about making rain, the Tribe in the southwest was summoning rain through dance. Unlike many other dances, the rain dance required both male and females dancers. Everything they wear, every jewel has significance as well as every footstep. It is all necessary in the making of rain. Unlike the circle dances, the men and women dance in separate lines with a zigzag pattern. Drums are not used, instead the rhythm is kept with the dancers feet. The Rain Dance is performed today. Does it work? Well the answer I got was,
“Yes, it works because instead of pleading and begging for rain, one asks nature, one gives nature the dance and if one right then nature gives back the rain.”
Cherokee’s believe that the summoned rain contains the spirits of dead Chiefs who upon awakening from the clouds battle evil spirits in the transitional plane between our reality and the spirit world .All I can say is , it must work as there is a form of a Rain Dance in many places around the world not just Native Americans.
Cloud Seeding has been since its inception a source of either amazement or angst . Although today it is a acceptable practice it was considered voodoo an a fringe science back in the beginning. Vincent Schaefer discovered Cloud Seeding, or at least the principle of it. He figured out that Ice Crystals needed to be created in order to make rain. He tried such things as table salt, talcum powder, soils, dust, and other chemical agents all with slight effect. Dr. Bernard Vonnegut was the one who discovered that silver oxide. The first attempt at cloud seeding was during a flight in upstate new York on 13 November 1946. Schaefer was able to get snow to fall near Mount Greylock Massachusetts, after he dumped six pounds of dry ice into the target cloud.
Of course, the military tried it. During the Vietnam War, from March 1967 until July 1972, the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron cloud-seeded silver iodide to extend the monsoon season over North Vietnam, specifically the Ho Chi Minh Trail in operation Popeye. (the 54th’s motto was Make Mud, Not War). The operation resulted in an extension of the monsoon between 30 and 45 days.
Although, there has been several different experiments, by the military and private agencies, Cloud Seeding is not always a successful venture. After Operation Popcorn, the Military has not been able to reproduce the effects they had in Vietnam. Several private experiments have also had some mixed results. Cloud seeding still occurs today, but lately there has been some concern about the sliver oxide and the effects it may have on humans and animal.