JUST HOW HOT HAS IT BEEN?

July 13, 2002 12:00 am
MELTDOWN: Thermometers can't even withstand the heat when left inside a vehicle, where this one was discovered Friday morning.  (The Observer/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).
MELTDOWN: Thermometers can't even withstand the heat when left inside a vehicle, where this one was discovered Friday morning. (The Observer/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).

OK, we all know it's been hot.

But sometimes you really need to know just exactly how hot.

As the heat wave started Wednesday, Daniel Eagan of Wallowa decided to check the temperature inside the cab of his pickup truck. It sits all day in a parking lot and Eagan was curious about just how miserable it actually got in the vehicle.

So he took the hand-sized round spring analog thermometer off the family porch and put it in the truck.

The plastic-cased thermometer rapidly indicated the inside of the vehicle was 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

It continued to rise to about 140 degrees.

Then Eagan was distracted.

"He left it. He closed the door and forgot about it about about two hours," Eagan's father, Roger Eagan, said.

And that, thanks to the heat, was the end of the thermometer.

The plastic face plate of the thermometer warped in the scorching heat, looking like an escapee from Salvador Dali's 1931 painting, "The Persistence of Memory."

The edge of the hard outer plastic case twisted as if it had been set against a store burner.

The thermometer has become a memento of the July 2002 heat wave.

To the question, just how hot was it? Daniel Eagan now has proof.

Hot enough to melt a thermometer.

— T.L. Petersen