Farmers in the Mexican state of Puebla have accused Volkswagen of Mexico of using weather modification tools to cease hailstorms, claiming that the broader result was a severe lack of rain that led to droughts and dead cattle. Before you claim that weather modification tools are the stuff of errant conspiracy theorists, you should know that Volkswagen in Mexico officials have admitted to using anti-hail weather-altering machines, though they have denied that they stopped rain altogether…kind of.
"Even though there is no evidence that the use of these devices causes a lack of rain, Volkswagen (VLKAF) of Mexico decided to modify its operation in order to maintain a harmonious relationship with its neighbors," a company spokesperson told CNN.
"Volkswagen ... [has stopped] using these devices in their automatic mode, and is only operating them manually, when the meteorological conditions determine the imminent fall of hail," she said. (CNN Money)
In an attempt to avoid damage created by hailstorms to newly-minted vehicles, Volkswagen turned to a little-talked about science.
‘…VW’s use of “hail cannons” created a drought that spoiled 5,000 acres of growth
The sonic devices, introduced to the rural municipality in June, send shock waves into the atmosphere to break up hailstones—which can be a nightmare for newly built vehicles parked in an outdoor lot.’ (Geek.com)
Weather modification techniques have been spoken about in the past, including by celebrity-physicist Michio Kaku with CBS News. He stated that weather modification had been used in Vietnam to create adverse conditions for the Vietcong.
“In the 60s, the CIA used this [weather modification tech] to bring down monsoons during the Vietnam War to wash out the Vietcong. Governments have been playing with this thing-“z
In the middle of this sentence, CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell interjected with a comment that telling of how well-kept the details surrounding weather modification technology has been.
“Is alleged to…”
Kaku: “Right, alleged to.”
The “alleged” aspect of these responses is what makes the VW saga so interesting. It is the first known, or first widely-publicized, instance of a major corporation using weather modification techniques for any purpose. In this instance, VW was seeking to reduce hail damage, so they went straight to the source. What they likely didn’t know, and still don’t seem willing to concede, is that the unintended consequences of their hail-stopping technique would have an adverse impact on local farmers. These unintended consequences should be heeded, especially when it comes to an issue as potentially serious as manipulating weather patterns.
VW has responded by stating that they will be putting up anti-hail nets across the 150-acre lot. Perhaps a massive indoor car lot would be worth the cost of construction, though considering the 15,000 workers show up to the factory daily to churn out Jettas, Tiguans, Beetles, and Golfs, such a building would surely have to be massive. The cost of construction is likely a major reason why VW has not ruled out continued use of the hail cannons, about which it said: ‘[we will] would continue to use the cannons if needed.’ Plus, the manufacturer of the anti-hail cannon maintains that claims of its cessation of rain are nothing more than sour grapes.
"In reality, the technology isn't around rain, it's around hail. And there's a difference. A substantial difference," Mike Eggers, the owner of a hail cannon manufacturer in New Zealand, said. (CNN Money)
In response to the public outcry, which claims both cattle and crops have fallen victim to hail-cannon-induced drought, VW officials have vowed to put the hail cannons on manual, instead of automatic mode. Though, we’ll believe it when we see it – after all, how easy could it be to predict a hail storm? There’s serious merchandise to protect here, guys.
"Volkswagen ... [has stopped] using these devices in their automatic mode, and is only operating them manually, when the meteorological conditions determine the imminent fall of hail," a company spokesperson said.
Considering the mystery in which weather modification machines are shrouded, it’s unlikely that a definitive picture of these hail cannons’ unintended consequences will emerge anytime soon. You’ll have to take the manufacturer’s word for it, or choose to side with the farmers of Puebla, Mexico.
Regardless, you’ll have one of the most bizarre quotations you’ll ever read outside of The Onion to run around the ringer as you decide which side to take, courtesy of a pro-farmer Facebook group post.
"We are happy to know that as a group we have raised our voices against the use of hail cannons by VW Mexico.”