SEATTLE - With temperatures in the Puget Sound region breaking records this week, many people are playing a watching and waiting game - waiting to see when the thermometer outside their home will reach triple digits.
But if your thermometer is hanging right outside your front door and directly in the sun, you're not going to get an accurate reading.
Below is a photo of a thermometer sent to KING 5 News Tuesday afternoon by a viewer in Oso, east of Arlington. It clearly shows the temperature reading 116 degrees. You can also clearly tell the sun is reflecting off it and it's mounted right next to a building.
The National Weather Service says this is where you need to place your thermometer to get an accurate reading:
- It must be in a shaded, well-ventilated and open area, 5 feet above ground, give or take a foot.
- Away from sprinkler systems
- No closer than four times the height of any obstruction. For example, if a building is 10 feet tall, it needs to be no closer than 40 feet from that building.
- Located over natural ground just as grass, dirt or sod.
- At least 100 feet from road or concrete.
"The air above asphalt is always going to be warmer," said KING 5 Meteorologist Rich Marriott
As for the quality of thermometer you are using, Marriott says a cheap thermometer should work just as well as an expensive one as long as it's properly calibrated.
The official National Weather Service thermometer that determines the temperature in Seattle is located between the second and third runways at Sea-Tac Airport. A Weather Service spokesman says it's six feet above the grass and in a shaded, well-ventilated area.
Of course, you may not live in an area with these optimal conditions, such as a townhome or apartment complex. You can still put a thermometer outside, but it will only give you the temperature relative to your area.