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Downtown Hits 113, or Higher?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, September 27, 2010, at 02:13PM
Los Angeles Heat Wave | 115 Degrees Mikey Wally [Flickr]

Pedestrians huddle in a tiny strip of shade during a day that officially hit 113 degrees.

The mercury shot past 100 degrees in Downtown this afternoon, easily besting the historic high of 106 degrees set in 1963.

While National Weather Service currently has the day's highest temperature pegged at 113, it's important to note that the "Downtown" reading is really being taken on the campus of USC, several miles to the south of the central city. That's where the official weather station was moved in 1999, from its previous home near the DWP headquarters on Bunker Hill.

A study done after the move found that the DWP site averaged high readings 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the new station at USC.

By that measure, Downtown could well have hit a true high of 115 degrees in this Monday heat.

Back in 1963, L.A. Times photographer Ben Olender had a little fun with the 106 degree heat, placing a 100-pound block of ice out in front of the Times building at 1st and Spring. He then observed from a concealed position as passersby tried to figure out what to make of the little spot of cool.

According to the story in the next day's paper, one woman used it to dampen her handkerchief while several people used it as a momentary cool seat. Eventually, four small boys "attacked the cake, breaking it into pieces. They sucked the pieces, like popsicles. Then they had an ice war."

No reports of ice wars today.

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