Dear Tom,

June 21 with an official high of 99 was a scorcher – and it was the summer solstice. How often has the summer solstice in Chicago ended up being the hottest day of the year?

Sam Kraft, Geneva

Dear Sam,

The short answer is never, but it almost happened in 1988. Choosing June 21 as the summer solstice date, the date in most years, Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski checked each year’s highest temperature, and none occurred on June 21. The date’s record high is 101 degrees, recorded in Chicago’s 1988 drought summer, but that year’s highest temperature was 104, one day prior to the solstice on June 20. It remains to be seen whether the city records a higher temperature this year. Ironically, two summer solstice days were unseasonably chilly, both in years known for excessive heat- 57 degrees in 1916 and 59 degrees in 1936.