Tag Archives: San Luis Valley Cloud Seeding

Latest News – September 30

Cloud Seeding Near Saguache Today

Rainbow_Fall_SW

A rainbow touches down near Saguache Today after a fall rainstorm.

With stormy weather in the forecast for Saguache Today, it seemed like a good time to bring readers in the know about a recent permit application for cloud seeding in the Colorado Central Mountains.

Western Weather Consultants has applied for a permit to perform cloud seeding intended to increase snowfall in the Central Colorado mountains, including parts of Lake, Chaffee and Summit counties. It seems that the ski resorts and front range population are in need of more water, and are looking to the mountain communities to help them out. According to the applicant, Saguache County isn’t included within the permit boundaries, but is listed specifically as an adjacent county within the permit area which is “not intended to see any effect.”

The application would be good for five years and the deadline for public comment is MONDAY, Oct. 2 More details listed below.

If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology and what it really means? Here’s the most simplest description: By pumping the clouds in a certain area full of silver iodide and solid carbon dioxide (dry ice), a cloud can be “supercooled,” thus causing ice particles to grow at rapid rates and become dense enough to fall from the cloud as precipitation (in our case snow).

“Silver iodide once burned is hexagonal and has water attracting and bonding properties and is therefore perfect for vapor to convert to snowflakes,” explains Joe Busto, of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

The intended effect of the weather modification operations is to increase precipitation/snowpack snow water content to benefit: natural habitat, agriculture, municipal water, stock growers, recreational and tourism interests, and the local economy.

Cloud Seeding machine

According to officials, there are currently 110 cloud seeding machines in the state. Photo: Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Readers should be aware that there is currently an open comment period underway, but only until next Monday. Comments can be emailed to joe.busto@state.co.us or mailed (see details below) with postmark of October 2, 2017 for consideration as part of the record of decision.  

The following includes all of the official details:

Sponsors of the application include the Colorado River Conservation District, the Front Range Water Council and the ski areas of Keystone, Breckenridge and Winter Park.

Notice is hereby given that Western Weather Consultants of Durango, CO (WWC) has filed with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) an application for a five-year permit to conduct a wintertime ground-based weather modification program.  WWC will conduct the Central Colorado Mountain River Basins Program (CCMRB) for the following entities:

Colorado River Conservation District: Larry Hjermstad, Manager of WWC, Mike Hjermstad, Asst. Manager and Head of Operations for WWC, and Eric Hjermstad, Head of Field Operations are the people in control of the program.

cloudseedingexplained

The permit Target Area for the CCMRB Program is the area generally above an elevation of 8,500 feet in the upper Colorado River basin and a small portion of the upper Arkansas River.  The upper Colorado River basin includes tributaries in Pitkin, Lake, Eagle, Summit, Chaffee and Grand counties, with an exclusion area in the Tenmile Creek basin near Climax.  Counties adjacent to counties within the permit area but not intended to see any effect from cloud seeding are: Gunnison, Park, Clear Creek, Fremont, Saguache, Mesa, Garfield, Routt, Jackson, Larimer, Boulder and Gilpin counties.

The operational period will be November 1 through – April 15 for each year for the next five winters, expiring in 2022. 

Safeguards are in place to limit weather modification operations by daily monitoring of snowpack snow water equivalent, avalanche hazard levels, and National Weather Service Severe Weather Statements.  The CWCB coordinates daily with permit holders to ensure programs are operated judiciously to minimize danger to the land, health, safety, people, property and the environment.  WWC has previously held two sequential five-year permits for cloud seeding in the CCMRB Target Area. 

Complete details of the operations to be conducted are available from: Western Weather Consultants at P.O. Box 58, Durango, Colorado, 81302 or by emailing westernweather@gmail.com.   The CWCB encourages oral and written comments at the public hearing for the record of decision. Please contact Joe Busto, CWCB, 1313 Sherman Street # 721, Denver, Colorado, 80203, or call (303) 866 3441 ext. 3209, or email joe.busto@state.co.us with comments.

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