The meteorologist who leads the state’s cloud seeding program says the technique is increasing annual rainfall in parts of West and South Texas.
“South of San Antonio, we had aircraft flying on a dozen days in the month of July treating what we deemed to be seedable storms,” said George Bomar, the manager of the Weather Modification Program for Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Department.
Weather Modification - Currently, cloud-seeding projects designed to increase rainfall from convective cloud towers are conducted in nearly 31 million acres of Texas (or almost one-fifth of the state’s land area). In administering the Texas Weather Modification Act (enacted by the Texas Legislature in 1967), TDLR’s weather modification program issues licenses and permits for these projects, many of which have been in existence since 2000. The projects use specialized aircraft and sophisticated weather radar systems, operated by skilled meteorologists, at sites near Amarillo, Plains, Pecos, San Angelo, and Pleasanton. In addition, TDLR issues licenses and permits to other organizations, as well as individuals, responsible for carrying out weather modification operations for both rainfall enhancement and hail suppression. The aim of the regulatory function is to ensure that various methods of modifying the weather do not dissipate clouds nor inhibit their ability to produce rainfall to the detriment of people or property in the affected areas.
The program also sponsors and provides administrative and technical oversight for ongoing weather modification research and development activities. This includes the use of federal grants for exploratory, and confirmatory, cloud seeding experiments. TDLR issues reports on the results of cloud seeding research work and shares information on technological advances with other State agencies, governmental organizations, and interested individuals.
The TDLR staff also works with political subdivisions, other organizations, and individuals in the design, or modification, of rain enhancement projects as well as the implementation of new seeding strategies for augmenting rainfall over targeted watersheds.