Historical weather records at eight American urban areas of varying size, type, and climate were studied for indications of inadvertent precipitation modification. The six largest cities all had experienced warm seasonal rainfall increases of 9 to 17% during the 1955–70 period. The increases in the Midwest cities occurred largely with cold frontal systems, but in the coastal cities they were largely during air mass (non-frontal) conditions. The Midwest increases also were found to occur as enhancement, not initiation, of moderate to heavy rain days. Significant increases in summer thunder-day frequencies (13 to 41%) and hail-day frequencies (90 to 450%) were found at the six largest cities, and the increases occurred largely in the morning hours. The typical locations of maxima in the Midwest cities were thunder over and near the city, and rain and hail 25 to 55 km downwind. The maxima of all events in coastal cities were in or near the city. Overall, the results suggest that urban precipitation enhancement is related to city size, industrial nuclei generation, and urban thermal effects. The alterations have considerable relevance to urban design, local area forecasting, local water supplies, agricultural production, hydrologic design, and to planned weather modification.

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