I learned of weather modification a couple years ago from some friends that live in Bowman County. I didn't think anything of it until I did some research and started watching North Dakota State Water Commission radar. Bowman, Burke, McKenzie, Mountrail, Ward, Williams, and part of Slope counties in western North Dakota are members of the North Dakota Cloud Modification Project (NDCMP) to help diminish severe storms, mainly hail.
When thunderstorms begin forming in eastern Montana, airplanes from around North Dakota are alerted and fly in front of the storms. The planes then circle around and deposit silver iodide. This inorganic compound diminishes the severity of the storm. Along with weakening the severity also comes diminishing the amount of precipitation in these clouds. With less precipitation, this just adds to the drought. It is a simple concept.
You can watch the radar on the North Dakota State Water Commission website (www.swc.nd.gov) and follow the airplanes circle around in front of the storms. The airplanes are indicated by different colored lines. You can watch the storms growing into something significant in eastern Montana and diminish into just about nothing when it hits the border of North Dakota. Then when they get further to the east the storms gain strength again. Leaving these counties with less than the anticipated precipitation.
This project started in 1975 with the formation of the NDCMP with 17 counties participating. Since then participation from counties has diminished down to seven. The counties that have dropped out of the program did it because of the impact on their precipitation.
Drought in Western North Dakota has been extreme for years and it continues to be. Getting rid of weather modification would greatly help the need for precipitation for farmers and ranchers. Drought comes because of many factors but one factor shouldn't be the human element, especially if we can stop it.
Opponents of weather modification have had this issue on the ballot in these counties. But the weather modification always wins because of the urban vote. The populations in these counties are heavy in the urban areas. The opponents and those it most affects are in the rural areas.
The urban residents like weather modification because it protects their possessions. The rural residents are against weather mods because it affects their livelihood. Grazing pastures and croplands are drying up and have been for years since weather modification has been voted in.
Which is more important, a possession or a livelihood? The answer should be easy. Weather modification needs to go away. It is time to let nature decide the weather.
Enderlin, North Dakota