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McFeely: Ward County asks N.D. board to stop cloud-seeding

Weather Modification Inc. Vice President Jim Sweeney holds a device used for cloud seeding before it is retrofitted on a plane to do weather-related work in Saudi Arabia. Jay Pickthorn / The Forum

Turns out Forum letter-to-the-editor writer Clint Lindemann of Enderlin, N.D., is not the only one who believes North Dakota’s long practice of “seeding clouds” in some western counties has contributed to a nasty drought.

The Ward County Commission voted Tuesday to ask the North Dakota Atmospheric Resource Board to cease operations in that north-central county. Ward County is the county in which Minot is located. This information was passed on to me by a reader/listener and confirmed by Minot Daily News reporter Jill Schramm, who covered the meeting.

Cloud modification has been around since the 1940s, when it was accidentally discovered by scientists at General Electric in New York. The idea is for planes to spray silver iodide into storm clouds with two goals in mind: reduce hail and augment rainfall.

A quick science lesson, from physics.org.

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