How Hot Is That Park Bench? Hint: Don't Sit Down

By Jasmine Turner and Devin Williams
|  Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014  |  Updated 10:47 PM EDT
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    Walk outside, and it smacks you in the face: Baking, blistering, breath-stealing heat.

    The temperature hit the mid-90s again Wednesday, after a record 97 degrees Tuesday.

    So we wondered: Just how hot can a park bench get after a day in the oven that is the District of Columbia this week?

    We gave two "lucky" interns an infrared thermometer and water bottles and sent them to the National Mall to find out. Here are the actual temperatures that we recorded on outside surfaces during the hottest part of the day.

    136 degrees: Park bench outside Smithsonian Metro

    Tourists, be careful. The sun is heating up benches like the ones outside of the Smithsonian Metro station to a bum-burning 136 degrees.

    The Lincoln Memorial steps, where many were sitting Wednesday, were 116 degrees in the sun and 102 degrees in the shade.

    The Washington Monument's marble benches were a comparably cool 105 degrees.

    122 degrees: Ground near the Lincoln Memorial

    The bare ground was scorching, and the grass not too far from the memorial was 92 degrees.

    If you take a break to get some water, be careful: The water fountain was 93 degrees.

    105 degrees: Trash can

    By the Nebraska Avenue and Ward circle bus stop, we found one that measured at 105 degrees.

    104 degrees: Capitol BikeShare bike seat

    We found two bikes with 100-degree handlebars and, far more concerning, one with a 104-degree seat. We found another bike whose seat was 99 degrees.

    97 degrees: Crosswalk sign

    The signs may appear cool, but to the touch they are a surprising 97 degrees. Also look out for the Metro map poles you may read for directions or lean on for a quick rest: The Smithsonian Metro station pole was measured to be 105 degrees in the midday D.C. sun.

    And don't touch the black pillars that mark off walkways. These may be up to 114 degrees.

    For how to stay cool in this week's heat wave, click here.

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