Farmer?s hail cannons spark storm

By | June 16, 2006

Farmers hail cannons spark storm

The cannon is a shock wave generator that is supposed to disrupt the formation of hailstones. An explosive charge of acetylene gas and air is fired in the lower chamber of the machine. As the energy passes through the neck and into the cone of the cannon, it develops into a force that becomes a shock wave. The shock wave then travels at the speed of sound into and through the clouds. This is said to disrupt the growth of the hailstones. The cannon is fired every four seconds as the storm approaches. It affects a 500-meter radius. SOURCE:

Farmer John Smith?s spinach is dense, green and unblemished, just as it should be.

His iceberg lettuce is still tiny, but healthy, with leaves sprouting whole and unmarred.

They?ll hopefully stay that way, Smith says, thanks to the eight hail cannons stationed across his 3,800-acre Southern Colorado Farms, aimed at the sky and poised to fire off sound waves that supposedly stop the nasty ice pellets that can ravage his crop. Smith believes in his cannons. So do a lot of his neighbors in the San Luis Valley. That?s the problem. Although Smith maintains that his cannons, $40,000 apiece, can stave off the damage from summer storms, others are convinced they?re doing more than that ? stopping the rain as well, drying up an already parched land and killing their livelihood.

?We need all the water we can get, and they?re stopping it from raining,? said Don Evans, one of the ranchers upset with Smith. – gazette

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