Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/505

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
487
RAIN-MAKING.

Mr. Baker returned to this city this morning in jubilant spirits. He is nowsatisfied beyond a doubt that he can produce rain by means of his appliance. He proposes to visit Pixley every two weeks, and is sanguine that he will be successful in his experiments.

During the months of April and May he proposes to put forth his best efforts in order to thoroughly drench the soil. The residents of Pixley are well pleased with Baker's experiments, and they propose to assist him in conducting his future operations.

THEY VOUCH FOR HIS EFFICIENCY.

He brought back with him the following letter:

"This is to certify that it rained 0·35 to 0·40 of an inch at Pixley on the 30th and 31st of January. We gentlemen here vouch for the truth of the same; that it is a local rain of fifteen to twenty miles in extent, and that it was brought about by the Baker process.

"J. J. Kelly, L. E. Smith,
"Charles S. Peck, J. T. Austin,
"W. M. Jackin, John W. Harper."

Now, it is not my purpose to impugn the veracity of the gentlemen whose names are signed to this certificate. I know none of the gentlemen. I do not question the only point in the statement to which the gentlemen could possibly subscribe of their own knowledge. You will observe that the certificate includes three separate statements: (1) That it rained in Pixley on the 30th and 31st of January; (2) that it was a local rain of fifteen to twenty miles in extent; (3) that it was brought about by the Baker process. Manifestly, the only one of these statements to which the gentlemen could have subscribed of their own knowledge is the first.

Fortunately for the settlement of questions of this character, we have the use of data collected by the Weather Bureau. When I read the above article I at once wrote to Mr. Pague for the maps issued by the Weather Bureau for January 28th to 31st inclusive. He kindly forwarded them to me, and the following data were compiled by me from them:

On the map of Sunday, January 28th, 5 P. M., an area of low barometer is shown with its center west of Vancouver. The weather was reported cloudy and rainy north of the Oregon line. The weather forecast was "Rain in northern California." Twelve hours later, Monday, January 29th, at 5 A. M., the storm was central over northwestern Washington. I quote verbatim from the predictions printed upon the map: "The conditions this morning are favorable for rain over California from the Tehachapi Mountains northward by Tuesday morning, and possibly will extend southward Tuesday afternoon or night."

At 5 p. m. of the same day the map shows a storm area extending from British Columbia to southeastern California, with its