|Oh wait! Lemme get my rain gear!|
By Murphy Givens
The U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to conduct a cloud-bombarding experiment in Corpus Christi. On Sept. 26, 1891, experimenters took two howitzers outside town and fired the shells timed to explode at 500 feet. After the shells exploded, a few raindrops fell. By the time the last shot was fired, people at the experiment were soaking wet.
Doubters and scoffers pointed out that the howitzer shots had nothing to do with the rain because on the day of the exercise, thunderclouds were over the city and it had rained the day before. But there had to be clouds to bombard for the experiment to work.
The weather experimenters went on to San Diego,Texas where there had been no rain for a long time. This time, they used 10-foot balloons filled with gas and carrying explosive charges. The balloon explosions were synchronized with artillery fire on the ground. Judge James O. Luby, a spectator, carried an umbrella just in case. The mortars thundered and balloons exploded from 9 p.m. until midnight. The spectators gave up and went home, thoroughly dry. But about 4 a.m. after the last balloon was exploded, a heavy rain began to fall.
This was followed by another experiment conducted in the Alamo Heights area of San Antonio. The first shot took off the top of a mesquite tree and concussions from the cannon shots shattered the windows of the nearby Argyle Hotel. But there was no rain in San Antonio. However, there was a violent downpour in Laredo. A telegram sent from Laredo, perhaps only half in jest, thanked the man in charge, John T. Ellis, for the rain.