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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 01:45 GMT 02:45 UK
US makes 'weather control powder'
Hurricane damage
Scientists hope to reduce the effects of hurricanes
By BBC Science's Julian Siddle

A company in the United States claims it has invented a powder that can be used to remove clouds from the sky and even stop the development of hurricanes.

They say the new product could help many areas of the world that are subject to extreme weather conditions.

The powder absorbs water from storm clouds
The Florida based company, Dyn-o-mat, used a military aircraft to drop four tonnes of its powder on to a developing storm cloud.

The cloud disappeared from radar screens, which were monitoring the experiment.

Officials from the company, which produces materials to absorb pollutants such as oil and acids, say they used a specially developed powder that absorbs large quantities of water.

'Completely safe'

The water is then turned into a gel before falling out of the sky.

The company says the gel is completely safe, bio-degradable, and breaks down in seawater - though they refuse to say exactly what is in it.

Among the applications that it envisages for the powder are clearing away clouds before sports fixtures and constraining the development hurricanes.

The company believes that a tightly controlled jet of the powder aimed at the hurricane would cut it into smaller pieces, making it far less threatening.

The US Government has already expressed interest in the new product, and the company says it could be useful worldwide.

Dyn-O-Mat's JD Dutton
"This is the absolute breakthrough"
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