The New Alberta Hail Suppression Project
A new hail suppression project was started in Alberta in 1996. Weather Modification Inc. (WMI) of Fargo, North Dakota was awarded a five year contract by the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society of Calgary, Alberta to conduct cloud seeding to reduce urban property damage from hail, particularly for the Calgary and Red Deer areas. The operational program runs from June 15th to September15th. This project is rather unique because it is funded entirely by private insurance companies with the sole intent to mitigate the damage of property by hail storms. The seeding program is based upon the hailstorm conceptual model, seeding methods, and storm forecasting techniques of the previous long-term hail research project conducted by the Alberta Research Council from the late 1960’s through 1985. In 1996, a C-band weather radar with computer recording and communications systems and three cloud seeding aircraft were dedicated to the project. The aircraft and radar crews provided 24 hr coverage, seven days a week throughout the period. The program has been welcomed by the local communities and has rekindled much interest in cloud seeding.