The meteorological Summer has been in full swing, while the astronomical summer, which relies on equinoxes and solstices, officially begins on Thursday, June 20 at 3:51 p.m.

“2023 was the planet’s warmest year on record, according to an analysis by scientists” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

And now, NOAA says 2024 has a “99% chance that 2024 will rank among the five warmest years on record.”

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As we brace for the sizzling heat, you should know the difference between a heat dome and a heat wave.

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What is a Heat Dome?

The Weather Channel said a “heat dome is an area of high pressure where air sinks towards the surface. It's hot, and very few clouds or precipitation form under the dome; as a matter of fact, storms usually move around the perimeter.”

What is a Heat Wave?

“A heat wave is a duration of heat, this can be a few days, but some heat waves last for weeks, making it harder to be outside. Heat waves also put a strain on our power grids when folks naturally want to crank up their air conditioners,” said The Weather Channel.

WHEW!: Counties With the Warmest Summers in Alabama

Stacker compiled a list of the counties with the warmest summers in Alabama.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi

Alabama Power Energy Savings Tips

Gallery Credit: Mary K

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