Concerned about Rain? …No Problem, Call China
Taking in the Phillies situation last night regarding the rain delays and inaccurate weather reports I couldnt help but to feel bad for Mike Boekholder, Head Groundskeeper and his crew. He can’t control the weather and unfortunately he can only believe in what the weather man tells him. All groundskeepers have been in similar situations but none to the level that happened last night in Philadelphia. There are some great weather prediction systems on the market but even they can not be 100% trusted.
With that being said, I do know of a alternate solution and I know it works because I witnessed the event myself. Working the Baseball venue for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was truly an eye opening experience into Chinese culture. China had invested in a weather modification system to ensure the Opening ceremonies (and other events) was not threatened by weather..
On 8-8-08 a severe storm approached the Opening ceremonies out of the northwest. A very typical low pressure weather front. I was watching the weather with some folks from the metrological service who basically said, “watch this”. As the storm approached the Beijing city limits the storm cell basically fell apart only to reappear on the other side of the city. Beijing had launched over 1110 rockets into the sky to seed the clouds with a silver iodide based product that would make the clouds rain themselves out then send planes into the sky to keep the clouds dry with a salt based product and therefore saving the opening ceremonies event from ruin.
Yes…. China controlled mother nature. Is there a health concern with this practice? I dont know. I was told the cost of the rocket launch was excessive but over the course of the next couple weeks we saw similar weather systems fall apart even for baseball. We were tracking radar and watching these large rain systems approach and we would inform everyone of the rain situation and then nothing would happen. I would call the weather service and they would acknowledge a couple rockets had been sent up to blast the clouds. From that point on, keeping in close contact with the meteorologists was crucial and they would let us know if more rockets were released.
Not sure if rockets will be glaring over the Phillies tonight but rain is part of the game in our country and the current forecast looks pretty nasty. The field in Philly was designed to take a tremendous amount of water but with the forecast showing 80%-100% all day its going to be another tough one as trying to dry out last nights mess during the day is another challenge , Good luck Mike…I wish I could have china send some rockets your way.