The Mystery of the Troublesome Temperatures

Driving up Mangrove Avenue, in wintery, rainy Chico, one might be struck by just how chilly it is upon passing the clock/temperature display at Butte Community Bank: 46° ; on one recent afternoon.

But don’t turn on the car heater yet. Just a few blocks farther, the digital display outside Megna Chiropractic heralds a temperature that is invariably 7 degrees higher than its cousin down the street. It read 53° ; that day.

Is this some kind of Chico vortex, where the weather can turn from cold to colder in the space of less than a mile? And if not, is it the chiropractor whose temperature is out of alignment, or is the bank in an overdraft situation? I put on my sleuthing cap and investigated.

No one at the bank wanted, or was able to, play along. That left Joe and Colleen Megna to sort out the mystery. When their business moved into the Mangrove location in August 2000, they put up the sign as a way to stand out from the crowd.

In summertime, Colleen Megna said, she and her husband (a “stickler for accuracy” who directs the temperature tango from across the street on his cell phone) adjust the thermometer to compensate for the sun’s beating down on the sign. Then, in winter, “we back off.” “I think down the street they set theirs for summer,” she surmised. “I’m thinking that theirs is the one that’s off.”

By way of comparison, here are some other temperature readings reported between 2 and 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10.

The Weather Channel 53° ;

NowCasting (phone-in, fee-based service) 48-55° ; forecast

Electronic outdoor home sensor 53° ; 53° ;

Yahoo Weather 53° ;