Chuck Reeder's Victory Dogs hot dog cart in Medford is covered by a nice shade tent, but a simmering grill shares the space with him.
Reeder stood over the hot metal Wednesday afternoon, preparing a chili dog for a lunchtime customer. The smell of cooking potatoes, bacon, meat and a toasting bun drifted into mid-90-degree air that was destined to get even hotter.
"It adds about 15, 20 degrees," Reeder said of the grill. "It's 110 out, and you're standing over there, you're looking at 130 degrees sitting there trying to cook."
Reeder was one of several food-cart and food-truck owners outside in the triple-digit heat Wednesday, the third day of a heat wave that spurred an excessive heat warning by the National Weather Service expected to last until Friday. That warning came with a forecast of anywhere from 100 to 115 degrees across the Rogue Valley, with nighttime lows in the 70s.
Weather officials predicted Wednesday as the hottest day of the period at 114 degrees, though the mercury peaked at 112. Still, it was a record for Aug. 2, surpassing 1993's record of 105.
The hottest day ever recorded in Medford was July 20, 1946, when the mercury hit 115 degrees.
Monday hit 104, 5 degrees shy of the record for the date, but the city shattered the daily temperature record Tuesday with 110 degrees, eclipsing the previous mark of 104 degrees set in 2015.
With a forecast of 110 degrees for Thursday, another daily heat record could be destined to fall.
"Last time we saw heat like this, postage stamps were 20 cents," a message on the National Weather Service website said.
Those out in it tried to stay cool.
Carlee Jones, who moved to Medford from Indiana Friday, spent Wednesday morning at Hawthorne Park's splash pad with her 2-year-old son, Noah, who ran through the cold fountains. The heat is noticeable, but Indiana heat is more intense, she said.
"There, if it was 75 degrees, this is what it would feel like," Jones said. "It's hot there, but with more insane humidity. But it does get hot here. I was surprised."
Christina Hill of Medford also spent Wednesday morning at the splash pad, with her son, Jayce. During the heat wave, they venture out only during the morning hours, staying at home as the temperatures rise during the afternoon.
"If we are outside, we just try to play in the water," Hill said.
Food-truck employees dealt with the sweltering weather in various ways.
"It's not too bad," said Stuart Baker, owner of the Poppin' Fresh food truck. "I've got several fans, and the hotter it gets, the more fans I turn on."
Tanner Elliott, owner of Ooblie's Waffle food truck on Riverside Avenue, used an evaporative air cooler that uses moisture to beat the heat.
"It makes it bearable inside our food truck," Elliott says. "Normally if it's about 100 degrees outside, it's about 120 in our food truck, and the evaporative air cooler will knock it back down to 100 degrees."
Reeder, Baker and Elliott did their part to help people stay cool by giving out bottled water to passers-by for free. The Salvation Army also had water for anyone who stopped by at two hydration stations.
Karen Logan, founder of the Ashland Tiny House Project, spent part of Wednesday afternoon driving around Medford and handing out bottles of water she'd just purchased. She hoped to give aid to people outside who were caught off guard by the punishing temperatures.
"You get stuck, is what happens," Logan said. "I just want people to know ahead of time, and also so that they have some water and they get hydrated before it hits."
Temperatures will remain in the triple digits through at least Saturday, weather officials said.
— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.