A few times every year, usually when temperatures start to creep up near record high territory, photos of a Desert Sun front page from July, 1995 will show up over and over again in your newsfeed by people proclaiming that they have lived through more extreme temperatures than you and your weak-sauce 119 degrees. Well, turns out that while it was brutally hot that day, the newspaper’s 128 degree headline never happened.
Let’s start with the front page that ran on July 28, 1995 – which featured a woman in the pool (doing the Macaulay Culkin Home Alone pose?) and a huge 128 Degree headline:
23 years ago and I still have no words … pic.twitter.com/Nfq6p3T5EU
— Larry Bohannan (@Larry_Bohannan) July 7, 2018
And, if that temperature seems impossibly hot, it’s because it is, according to KESQ Weather Man Jerry Steffen.
The record high temperature for Palm Springs on July 28, 1995 was 123-degrees, not 128. The all-time hottest temp ever recorded in the city was 123-degrees.
Thank you @thecaseydolan.
— Jerry Steffen™ KESQ (@JerrySteffen) June 20, 2018
The thing is, 123 is hot and that day, July 28, 1995 is tied for the hottest day ever in Palm Springs with the very next day, when it also officially hit 123. It just wasn’t 128 degrees. So what the hell happened with that newspaper headline?
The Desert Sun tried to explain their error last year, and, well…
On July 29, 1995, The Desert Sun reported a high of 128 degrees in Coachella. Meanwhile, it was 125 degrees in Palm Springs.
Coachella was not one of the National Weather Service’s locations for measuring temperatures in 1995 and current meteorologists didn’t know how officials determined it was 128 degrees more than 20 years ago. There also are no records of temperatures reaching 125 degrees.
Experts could only speculate there were temperature readings at unofficial measuring points.
So it was basically like they were using the equivalent of a dash thermometer for the headline – which isn’t exactly the best way to determine an official temperature.
And while it turns out 128 degrees in Palm Springs is, to this point, just #FakeNews, the way things are going, we may actually get there soon.