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The primary goals of the Oklahoma Weather Modification Program (curently under suspension) are to augment water supplies and prevent future drought and/or hail damage to crops and property. Operating from 1996 through 2001 under direction of the OWRB and Oklahoma Weather Modification Advisory Board, the effort was typically conducted in the spring and fall from bases in Oklahoma City and Woodward. The OWRB and Advisory Board continuously monitored moisture and related agricultural conditions throughout Oklahoma to identify prime seeding areas.
Rather than a fleeting "drought relief "effort, the Oklahoma program was designed as a long-term water resource management and hazard mitigation tool. The program was modeled after operational programs in Kansas, North Dakota and Texas where rainfall was reported to increase by 20 percent or more and losses to hail decreased as much as 45 percent. In Oklahoma, hail is responsible for many millions of dollars in crop and property damage each year.
Under a contract with the OWRB, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey (Environmental Verification and Analysis Center) conducted independent evaluations of the Oklahoma Weather Modification Program in 1996 and 1998 to determine its effectiveness in augmenting rainfall and suppressing hail damage throughout the state. The evaluation concluded that Oklahoma program results are consistent with results from similar programs in other states. More specifically, radar response images indicated precipitation and increased cloud development downwind of project operations.
Weather Damage Modification Program (Oklahoma, Texas & New Mexico)
In FY-02 and FY-03, Congress appropriated more than $3 million to establish the Weather Damage Modification Program (WDMP), a multi-state weather modification research program, including Oklahoma. Administered through the Bureau of Reclamation, the regional, multi-state research program was established to scientifically verify the potential benefits of weather modification technology in mitigating weather-induced hazards.
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Page last updated: August 18, 2014