Russia spends millions on 'cloud seeding' technology to ensure it doesn't rain on May Day public holiday

'Seeding' clouds forces them to drop their rain early – leading to downpours for the unlucky people below, but keeping important events from being washed out

Andrew Griffin
Monday 02 May 2016 11:13
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One of the Ruby stars of the Kremlin towers in Moscow is silhouetted by a full moon
One of the Ruby stars of the Kremlin towers in Moscow is silhouetted by a full moon

The Russian government spent over a million dollars to stop it raining on a public holiday.

The Kremlin spent nearly 86 million rubles ($1.3 million) on making sure that it didn’t rain during the 1 May celebrations, according to official news agency TASS.

A single contractor did the work, which is thought to involve cloud seeding. That technique involves dispersing clouds and forcing them to rain before the time they naturally would – dropping the rain on other places and at other times, so they don’t affect specific events.

Cloud seeding works using specific chemicals that encourage the rain to fall when it is hit by the mixture, which means that planes can fly through specific dangerous clouds and bring down their rain before it gets anywhere important. The mixture freezes the water droplets and forces them to grow, which in turn leads them to drop to the ground.

The work happened on the Saturday before holiday, according to local reports.

It’s far from the first time that Russian authorities have used the technique to ensure good weather for public celebrations. Last year, it was reported that the Kremlin had spent millions to use planes to guarantee sunshine for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World in Europe.

The technique has been used across the world, including to help keep the weather nice for events including the opening of the Beijing Olympics. It has become traditional in China to use the technique before important holidays to ensure that the weather holds out.

It has even been offered to private individuals, with companies offering the opportunity to have the weather altered for people’s weddings.

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