ASK TOM: Has there ever been a day when Chicago had the nation’s highest or nation’s lowest temperature?

Dear Tom,

Has there ever been a day when Chicago had the nation’s highest or nation’s lowest temperature?

— Sarah Gibes, 13

 

Dear Sarah,

The National Weather Service releases the daily list of the nation’s highest and lowest temperatures, but Chicago has never appeared there. On those very rare occasions when Chicago’s temperatures are either so hot or so cold that they might qualify for the national extremes on any given day, some other city invariably registers a more extreme value.

 

On one occasion, however — March 21, 2012 — Chicago’s maximum temperature ranked among the nation’s highest readings. The thermometer soared to 87 degrees, a record high for the date here in Chicago, but Tampa, Fla., logged 88 degrees, and Punta Gorda, Fla., topped out at 91 degrees, the national high temperature that day.