Cannon Fired at the Clouds

Boston Herald.

An effort is being made in southern France to dissipate hail storms by firing cannon at the clouds. Fifty-two cannon, manned by one hundred and four cannoneers and their chiefs, were last year distributed over an area of twenty-five acres of rich vine land. For the expense of the experiment, the government appropriated f.2000 ($386), the departmental council f.1500 ($289), the National French Agricultural Society and a number of wealthy wine growers added f.12,000 ($2,316), and furnished fourteen more cannon. The minister of war supplied powder for 2¾ cents per pound. A high point in the vine land to be covered by the experiments was selected as the central post of observation, and a signal code adopted. When a shot was heard from the central post all the cannon were fired, at first twice per minute; more slowly after the first ten shots. The report of the first firing at the storm clouds states that "the farmers of Denice were aroused at half past one on the night of June 5-6. The storm was very severe. The artillerists, from forty to fifty strong, fired their guns and stopped the thunder and lightning. In the neighboring communes, the people saw columns of flames rise three hundred feet above the cannon when the shots were fired."

The wine growers have organized to attack the hail storms in many of the great wine-growing regions of France. A writer in one of the wine-growers' organs says: "The results obtained from experiments are such that organizations will be established in all the places that have heretofore been ravaged by hail."

It is said that the practice of shooting at the clouds was known in France over a hundred years ago, and that it originated in Italy. It is to be more extensively carried on this year than ever before.

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In Darkest Canada
June 20, 1901

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