Residents Protest Hail Cannons

Published: Jul. 18, 2005 at 8:38 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2005 at 12:12 PM CDT
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By Bert Case

Nissan's now famous hail cannons are back in the news.  The 16 foot tall cones aimed at the sky, use the same material used for welding, for firing a loud noise into the atmosphere.  They are activated automatically by a Doppler radar system that detects conditions that are ripe for hail formation.

Since the cannons were installed about a year and a half ago no hail damage has been reported to the thousands of newly manufactured vehicles sittting in a 140 acre lot outside the plant.  Now a group of three residents has gone before the Madison county Board of Supervisors to ask them to do something about the loud noise they frequently hear when the cannons are fired.

Ed Schroeder of the Germantown subdivision said, "I guarantee you, if I put a 16 foot acytelene cannon in my yard and started firing it, somebody would do something."  Schroeder lives about two miles away from the huge Nissan plant near Canton.

Nissan spokeswoman Wendy Polk said, "We are gonna work with the community and make sure they are used absolutely when necessary to prevent hail damage."

The board voted unanimously to invite Nissan to come before the board and see if something could be worked out so the cannons are not so worrisome to residents.  Nissan says it will gladly go talk about the problem.

The cannons fire every six seconds when they are in use and Nissan admitted when they were installed that they didn't know if they would work, saying the only proof, would be whether vehicles are damaged, during hailstorms in the area.