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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published July 28 2012

Weather Talk: 88-degree record from 2011 should get asterisk in book

On July 19, 2011, the sensor at the Moorhead municipal airport was reporting a dew point of 88 degrees. Many of us in the weather community did not give much credence to the reading as that sensor gives calculated dew point temperatures 3 to 5 degrees higher than the one at Fargo’s airport no matter the time of year (and it still does).

That day, out of curiosity, I drove to the Moorhead airport and took a reading using an old-fashioned sling psychrometer, which was used for years to measure relative humidity and dew point based on the cooling of a thermometer by evaporative cooling. I came up with an 83-degree reading on two tests, which was what the Fargo airport was reporting. Yet, in the end, that 88-degree reading, which surprised many of us, was used as a new state record for Minnesota.

I put that record in this context: Although Roger Maris’ record of 61 homers in a season has technically been broken, it was done so by questionable means. I think Roger Maris holds the true record, and a humidity sensor that consistently reads high perhaps should have an asterisk next to its record.

Email weather@wday.com, or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND. Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com