Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Rainmaker

  1. Feb 8, 2004 #1
    In 1915, after four years of drought, the San Diego City Council decided to hire local "rainmaker" Charles M. Hatfield who promised to fill the Morena reservoir for a fee of $10,000.00. After he got to work in Jan. 1916, San Diego suffered the worst floods in its recorded history.

    Address:http://www.hatfieldrain.com/name.html

    The musical and the film with Burt Lancaster are based on these true events.

    Lucky coicidence? Or did he make it rain?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2004 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Very interesting Zooby. I have never heard about this story...other than the movie which I had no idea was based on real events. As a guess I would say that it was luck.

    Some links:

    http://www.nawcinc.com/wmfaq.html

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/nhurr97/CSEED.HTM


    http://rams.atmos.colostate.edu/gkss.html
     
  4. Feb 10, 2004 #3
    So when you say you suspect he was lucky, do you mean you suspect he accidently seeded the clouds?
     
  5. Feb 10, 2004 #4

    jimmy p

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If only Iron Maiden had released the song sooner....
     
  6. Feb 14, 2004 #5

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, my first impression is that it must be a complete coincidence. I don't see how he could have done much of significance...just not enough mass released to be of use. Of course, if the atmosphere was supersaturated, if such a thing happens, I guess that in some way he might be the straw that broke the camel's back. Again though, from what little I know about this, the mass concentrations required to seed clouds seems to rule out all claims like this.
     
  7. Feb 14, 2004 #6
    January and February are San Diego's typical rainy season. After four years of drought, I would suspect he was simply banking on a natural and inevitable return to normal weather for this time of year when he agreed to take this job. His talent most likely consisted of a good sence of when a drought was going to break naturally, and in only taking jobs where he assessed the chances to be in his favor.

    The Mandan Indian rain ritual, it was noted by white visitors to that tribe, had a 100% success rate. The reason was: once started it would never be stopped, going on day after day, even into weeks, untill it rained. It would be interesting to find out the length of time Hatfield had to spend on his previous "successes" before it rained. Did it always start as soon as it did in San Diego, or were there times he was at it for weeks before it started?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?