LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As two winter storms approached the Southland in recent days, LA County officials were hoping to squeeze as much rain as possible from the fast-approaching storm clouds.
In a bid to fill depleted reservoirs, the LA County Department of Public Works is “cloud seeding.”
It works like this: Tubes mounted on hillsides shoot microscopic silver iodide particles into the clouds. Water vapor attaches to those particles, freezes and drops to the ground as rain.
The county previously engaged in cloud seeding, but stopped due to concerns that hillsides scorched by wildfires could be destabilized by additional rainfall.
But the practice is back due to the historic drought. Officials said they are able to “aim” the particles so rain will fall in sparsely populated areas and near catch basins.
Kerjon Lee, a spokesman with the Department of Public Works, said studies indicate that cloud seeding can increase rainfall totals considerably.
“Our studies show we can get a good 10 to 15 percent more rainfall produced when we do cloud seeding,” he said.
Lee said the department used cloud seeding during this week’s storms. He said the storms were good candidates for cloud seeding since the conditions weren’t too windy or warm.
“The conditions of this storm were favorable,” he said.