Ask Joe: Cloud seeding and mudslides

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Updated: 3/27 7:35 pm
Question:
From the Ask Joe file, a question on the ongoing tragedy with that landslide in Washington state.
Sandra wrote in asking if there is any chance that cloud seeding impacted or contributed to the mudslide in Washington, and she asks if anyone would admit to it, if it did?

Answer:
Tragically, all we know is that that hillside gave way after extensive periods of wet weather, covering an entire town in thick mud. As we've heard, the death toll continues to rise.
Joe checked with the Desert Research Institute about this, since they do conduct cloud seeding in Reno and around the Tahoe Basin.
Those cloud seeding operations do not spread out very far. The maximum distance is about 40 miles and more often, it is about 5 to 10 miles.
DRI said the state of Idaho does cloud seeding, and Joe put a call in to their Natural Resources Department, but did not hear back on Thursday.
Typically, cloud seeding can boost a storm's output by about 8 percent, so it is significant. But DRI scientists also say they monitor the conditions very carefully to make sure they only seed the clouds when the conditions call for it.
There may be more to explore on this issue, so Joe will keep looking into it and follow up when he does get some more answers.
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Nevadadad - 3/27/2014 9:15 PM
1 Vote
The hill that collapsed onto the area of Oso, Washington at the North Fork Stillaquamish River also slid in 2006, but that slide mostly stopped at the river. This new slide was much bigger, and was once again the result of the very common rains saturating the earth. The river didn't stop this one. If you look at that area on Google Maps, you can see the remnants of the first mudslide. The link is here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Steelhead+Dr/@48.283839,-121.8471386,701m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x5485374c1da16613:0xaeac517a3b686ce9
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