Heat wave made for a hot time in Arkville

Staff report
Anyone who went to the websites for AOL Weather or AccuWeather on Friday to check the forecast for Arkville would have been startled to discover that the current temperature and daytime high was listed at a mind boggling 131 degrees Fahrenheit. The fact that not one, but two internationally known websites listed the same temperature error made the situation all the more bizarre, especially since they operate independently of one another. Had anyone taken the reading seriously, the tiny hamlet of Arkville would have become the center of national news coverage.

The unexplained mistake made for excellent fodder on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It lead Joe Moskowitz of Arkville to post on his profile, “Another nine degrees and we’ll be pasteurized.”   According to foodsafetysite.com, low-temperature pasteurization is performed at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

The temperature error was finally caught by both AOL Weather and AccuWeather the following day. Each retroactively changed the listed daytime high for Friday to a much milder 93 degrees. What happened?  AccuWeather’s Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines quickly returned a phone call and explained the problem in a nutshell. 

“We take the high temperature for Arkville from the Monticello weather station,” he said. “The thermometer there went berserk on Friday and it read 131 degrees, which is not right.”
Unfortunately, the weather station, which is owned and maintained by the National Weather Service, has not been repaired yet. Kines explained that since Friday, meteorologists have been forecasting daytime highs for the Arkville area by taking correct temperatures from areas nearby and averaging them. 

The Weather Services International provides data to AOL Weather. The general manager of WSI’s Digital Group, Jim Menard explained that while mistakes sometimes happen, this case was unusual. “The weather observations are usually made at local airports and there was obviously a problem,” he said. “What happened was extreme. Normally, they are caught and picked up. They never stay up that long.”

While it’s been established that 131 degrees was incorrect, it was certainly exceptionally hot in Arkville on Friday. Road crews say the heat was so extreme that it caused a portion of the eastbound lane of Route 28 to buckle on the outskirts on the hamlet. The supervisor for Region 9 is away on vacation could not be reached for comment.  DOT crews were out repairing the road on Monday morning. It’s not clear how long the repair will take since the damaged portion will need to be dug out and repaved.

Asked if more extreme heat is on the way, Tom Kines of AccuWeather had this response.
“The 131 degrees, isn’t that hot enough for you?” he laughed.  Kines explained that after a few days of relief, get ready for another scorcher. “The heat and humidity will be back on Thursday into Saturday, but it won’t be nearly as hot or as humid as it was last Friday,” Kines said.