11.29.2009

Hugo Chavez is shooting the clouds


CARACAS, Venezuela - Hugo Chavez says he is starting to "bombard" clouds now that Cuba has provided Venezuela with cloud-seeding help in an effort to produce rain and alleviate the effects of a severe drought.

The Venezuelan president said Saturday night that specialized equipment, sent by Fidel Castro and Cuban President Raul Castro, is starting to be used to seed clouds from planes.

"We're bombarding clouds," Chavez said during a televised speech. "We have some planes there, and some equipment that Fidel and Raul sent us."

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‘I’ll hurl a lightning bolt at it’
Chavez is trying to squeeze more rain from the clouds as his country heads into its dry season amid a drought that has put reservoirs at their lowest levels in decades. The lack of water behind hydroelectric dams that supply most of Venezuela's electricity is threatening to worsen blackouts that have already become an emerging political liability.

Chavez suggested he wants to witness the cloud-seeding effort, saying: "Any cloud that comes in my way, I'll hurl a lightning bolt at it. Tonight I'm going out to bombard."

Cloud-seeding has been tried in various countries — including China, Australia and parts of the United States — in attempts to draw more moisture from storms, usually by releasing silver iodide particles into clouds. Chavez did not say what method Venezuela is using.

Controversial efforts
Such efforts to modify the weather are controversial, and critics question the effectiveness under many circumstances. But cloud-seeding is viewed as an option in some areas.

the rest of the story that you don't really need to read can be found here msnbc link. Chavez's situation could be chalked up to poor planning and the inability to deal with problems using even remotely realistic solutions.

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