Recent rain not from cloud seeding

Recent rain not from cloud seeding

LAWTON, Okla._The city of Lawton saw some much-needed heavy rainfall and even some flash flooding.

A few of our viewers were kind enough to share pictures they had taken of the flooding. Submitted pictures included views of Bridge Park near Southwest Sheridan Road and "D" Avenue where heavy rainfall slowed drainage. Another showed Liberty Lake, where the rain helped bring up water levels. After the water receded, the evidence of standing water and debris was easy to see. Fortunately, the water drained and kept roads clear.

The rain wasn't due to cloud seeding. Assistant City Manager Jerry Ihler said crews decided not to seed Tuesday, so what you're seeing is the result of Mother Nature.

Ihler's been doing the math on Lawton's rainfall for the last two years and says Tuesday's numbers were some of the best he's seen. The amount of usable storage water rose from 41 percent to 45 percent, saving the city from falling deeper into the drought.

"We've been on that threshold of 40 percent for the last two or three months. We've been very close to going into Stage 4 of our water conservation policy," explained Ihler.

Ihler says crews decided not to seed Tuesday because seeding can quickly become a waste of time and money with an already heavy rainfall.

"What the pilot had indicated to me is that when there's rainfall, and it's heavy, a lot of times it will go ahead and put out the flares and there's no sense in wasting flares or fuel when we're getting a good rainfall already," said Ihler.

Ihler emphasized that we are still in a drought and in desperate need of rain. He says they won't know if cloud seeding is really working until official reports are released from the operations, so they're going to keep seeding for now.

"The only thing that you can say is since we started the program we've been getting quite a bit of rain. Don't know if we can contribute it to that at this time or not at this point in time," said Ihler.

Cloud seeding operations were picked back up Wednesday. Ihler says although the rainfall in the city is nice, they're targeting lakes like Waurika that are still in desperate need of water.

Ihler said city officials were pleased with the way the drainage systems functioned once the heavy rains died down. He expects them to be able to support the additional rainfall expected this week.