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How hot is it, really? It’s a matter of location

Aug 21, 2011 9:09:00 PM - thestate.com
In this hottest of Columbia summers, sometimes the official temperature and even the heat index don’t match what it feels like when you walk outside.

If the bank sign says it’s 102 degrees and your internal thermometer tells you it’s 110, but the official temperature is 98 and the heat index is only 105, then check where you are.

It’s no secret asphalt and concrete are hotter than grass and soil, or that it’s cooler in the shade than in direct sunlight. But you might be surprised how much difference your location can make.

The State borrowed three portable temperature gauges from USC’s geography department (thanks, Greg Carbone) to measure those differences on a hot day, Aug. 11. The gauges recorded temperature readings on memory cards in one-minute intervals in three spots around the newspaper’s building – on a concrete storm drain in an open area, nearby under a small shade tree in a patch of grass surrounded by concrete and asphalt, and on the south side of the building under a large shade tree in a much larger grassy area 50 feet from any hard surfaces.

Here are some of the results:

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