L.A. County Forced The Clouds To Make It Rain More On Monday
Remember that storm we had way back on Monday—you know the one that woke most of Los Angeles up at 6 a.m.? It turns out that El Niño had a little bit of help from the L.A. County of Department of Public Works.
Early Monday morning, just before the storms blew through Southern California and woke Los Angeles at 6 a.m. with rolling thunder, County Public Works crews were busy tending several "cloud seeding" stations in foothills of the North San Fernando Valley, according to CBS 2.
Cloud seeding is a weather-modification technique that people can use to increase rainfall yields by 10 to 15 percent. Using instruments that look similar to fireworks launchers, scientists "seed" clouds with silver iodide. Under the right conditions, silver iodide prompts water to condense into raindrops at a higher rate.
On Monday, County Public Works officials seeded clouds in Southern California for the first time since 2002, according to City News Service. The goal was to increase the amount of rainfall in areas where it would be captured by dams, specifically in the Big Tujunga, San Gabriel, and Pacoima watersheds.
Cloud seeding has a long-history in Southern California, and has actually been used with regularity since the 1950s to increase rainfall in localized areas. County officials, however, often back off in the years following wildfires that leave hills destabilized, and more prone to mudslides.
For example, in 2009 a cloud seeding contract was cancelled after the Station Fire burned through the Angeles National Forest immediately north of Los Angeles.
County Public works spokesman Bob Spencer, told KPCC they plan to use the technique again throughout this season's storms.
"We're looking forward to the storms potentially headed our way on Friday," Spencer explained.
Here's a more detailed take on how cloud seeding works from BBC: