Monday, July 11, 2011

7/11 - 6:45pm - It's So Hot You Can (sorta) Fry an Egg!

It's 96° outside in Louisville with a heat index of 114°, making this the hottest day of the year so far. This got me thinking: Is it hot enough to fry an egg outside? I grabbed an infrared thermometer (measures temperature without having to make contact with the surface) and did some tests to see how hot various surfaces around my house were. The wooden deck was 149.3°, the tan concrete of our patio was 130.6°, and our driveway was 129.5°. While all very hot surfaces with direct sunlight, the deck was a clear winner.


Now to the egg frying part. I didn't want to fry an egg on the surface of the wooden deck because it may stain it. So, I put a metal cookie sheet right on top of the deck surface. This not only protects the deck, but easily heats up in the direct sunlight. After a few minutes in the sun, the temperature of the cookie sheet with non-stick spray applied about equaled the temperature of the deck surface.

Since the refrigerator at my house was void of eggs, I poured out the one-egg equivalent of egg beaters, the made-from-eggs substitute that you find at the grocery store, into a measuring cup. This may have thrown my results a bit, but hey, this is supposed to be fun right? Once the cup of egg beaters warmed to the ambient air temperature (around 96°), I poured it out on to the cookie sheet.


The results were interesting. I spread the liquid eggs around on the pan to resemble a flat pancake or crepe to increase surface area for heating. After a few minutes the edges of this "pancake" turned crispy and the middle became a thicker liquid with solid "chunks" (yeah, don't read this if you're getting ready to eat dinner) embedded in it. The surface of the deck was cooling down just before five o'clock, so this marked the end of the experiment. Had the temperature outside been a little hotter, and hence the deck a little warmer, it could have cooked more thoroughly. The temperature of a safely cooked egg is about 160°. Check out the video below to see the end result:

video

Today felt so hot because the dew point was near or at 80° for a good portion of the afternoon. That's a rare occurrence and signals the presence of an intense amount of moisture in the air. Humid is an adjective that doesn't even describe how it felt. Tomorrow should be almost as hot with the high topping out near 93 and heat indices near 110. This has prompted the National Weather Service to issue another Heat Advisory from 1pm to 8pm tomorrow. A "cold" front accompanied by a little southward dip in the jet stream (a trough) will increase scattered thunderstorm chances tomorrow afternoon in Louisville. The Storm Prediction Center places us under a Slight Risk for severe weather, mainly due to the threat for some hail and strong winds. The chance for storms could continue into Wednesday morning as the front passes through, but the lack of surface heating should suppress most of the development. We should dry out for the rest of the week with highs near 90. Stay cool out there!

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