OGDEN -- "The temperature is 199 degrees."
This year's summer heat has triggered that startling announcement from the local free Time & Temperature phone service.
As the up to 1,000 callers a day may know, the computerized auto-dial software at 621-8463 has a glitch when the mercury hits 100 degrees.
The excitable machine struggles making the transition to triple digits and 100 is announced as 199 degrees; although it handles 101 degrees smoothly, as it did June 29, the most recent day of the glitch.
"We're hearing about the glitch this year," said Brett Bowman, manager of the Time & Temp number. "I know it's kind of a weird thing. When people mention it, they just laugh."
It's not a priority repair, he said, as it only happens every couple of years. This summer is possibly the first in five years that temperatures jumped high enough to spring the glitch. The fix would likely involve shipping the equipment out.
Maintaining the phone service for its owner, Ogden Speech and Hearing Center, is just a sideline for Bowman, a technical writer for a Salt Lake firm and full-time college student. That's his voice on the three advertisements that rotate to each call. Each message prompt is kept under 45 seconds, he said, "so it doesn't chew into anyone's cellphone minutes."
The Time & Temp number debuted in the Ogden phonebook in the early 1990s, Bowman said.
"It's not a money-maker," he said. "The ads just cover expenses. The owners just like to provide the service."
Call counts came just short of 300,000 last year, he said, and, as of July 26, the number had reached 171,500 this year, with the coldest and hottest days drawing the most calls.
With forecast temperatures hovering around 100 degrees in recent weeks, callers will likely be treated to the 199-degree scorcher again soon.
"Let's hope it's never accurate," notes Bowman.
At which point mountain lakes would begin boiling, certain plastics melt, and rayon clothing spontaneously bursts into flame, according to various encyclopedia websites. Widespread power outages would be well under way, so calling the Time & Temp number likely wouldn't be an option.
Although Bowman notes it does have a battery backup that would last as long as a day.