November 2, 2009

China Seeds Rain Clouds, Causes Early Snowfall

China's Beijing Weather Modification Office caused an early snowfall Sunday after seeding rain clouds in order to ease droughts in the region.

Scientists reported spraying clouds with 186 doses of silver iodide in hopes of causing rainfall for wheat crops suffering from a drought.

However, a cold front swept through the region, causing the rainfall to become snow, which continued to fall throughout half of the day.

Temperatures reached as low as 29 Fahrenheit, resulting in the earliest snowfall in a decade.

The unusually early snowfall impacted Beijing's airways, rail systems and roads.

China's meteorologists often use cloud seeding to ease droughts in regions where growing crops is crucial.

According to BBC News, Anhui province, which has experienced a drought since September, saw 4cm (1.5in) of rainfall over the weekend.

Snow also fell in the northeastern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin as well as the northern province of Hebei and the eastern port city of Tiajin.

"We wont miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from the lingering drought," said Zhang Qiang, head of the Beijing Weather Modification Office.