Never mind the fact that it is essentially a desert by the sea, California is going through a “historic” drought—something that happens from time to time in deserts.

Some believe that the government is modifying the weather (aka weather modification).

Like it or not, apparently, weather modification is not a new thing.

In 1915, San Diego was experiencing another “historic” drought. So, the city hired a “weather modification expert.” (Although they weren’t called “weather modification experts” back then.)

His name was Charles Hatfield and his work (or a couple of storms) caused 30 inches of rain to fall, towns to flood, and three and one half million dollars worth of damage. Some people even died.

Miffed by the amount of damage their “weather modification expert” caused, the City of San Diego stiffed him out of his $10,000 fee.

Here’s his story, via Here & Now.

Some more information about Hatfield, the Rainmaker tells how California’s droughts are not a new thing for the state.

There had been three terrible years of drouth [sic] at the end of the century, drying up irrigation canals in the Central Valley and leaving Southern California as brown in winter as in summer. Now, in January 1904, no rain had fallen since early December and precious little since the previous spring. Matters were so bad that Catholic and Protestant churches appealed through the newspapers for a day of prayer for rain on Sunday, January 31. [Emphasis added.]

Here are 8 Facts About Charles Hatfield The ‘Rainmaker’ via Here & Now.

  1. During a drought in California, Hatfield was hired by the San Diego city council with a four-to-one vote and promised $10,000 in a handshake deal if he could make it rain.
  2. Although Hatfield was considered a rainmaker, his original profession was a sewing machine salesman.
  3. He convinced people he had the methods of creating rain from a chemical cocktail he formulated.
  4. To inject his rainmaking concoction into clouds overhead, he built a 20-foot tower in the area and burned the chemical mixture from the top of the structure. Witnesses claimed he shot the chemicals into the air like bombs, spurting fumes and smoke to ascend into the sky and convince the cumulus clouds to send down rain.
  5. He preferred the title “moisture accelerator.”
  6. Hatfield inspired the 1956 film “The Rainmaker,” starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn.
  7. On January 1, 1916, the rain started in San Diego and it didn’t stop for the entire month, resulting in 30 inches of rain. The floods destroyed the dam, washed out roads, lifted railroad tracks, caused property damage across the region and killed an estimated 14 to 50 citizens.
  8. Hatfield never got his money. The city council claimed the floods were an act of God, not an act of Hatfield.

The 1956 movie The Rainmaker was also loosley inspired by Charles Hatfield.

Image credit.

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