Summer officially begins today with the summer solstice at 7:09 p.m., when the sun hits its northernmost point in the sky.
The new season will not come in gently, but rather aggressively, with a two-day heat wave predicted by meteorologists.
Dundalk temperatures are expected to reach a high of 99 degrees today, with heat index values as high as 104, according to the National Weather Service.
Tonight's low will be around 80 degrees, and then more of the same hot and sticky weather on Thursday.
The NWS has issued a heat advisory, meaning that the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.
Experts recommend that residents drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms if possible and stay out of the sun.
Workers who must labor outdoors are advised to drink plenty of fluids and take breaks often throughout the day.
Older residents and younger children are particularly susceptible to the effects of extreme heat, according to medical professionals at Patient First.
"Excessive heat can cause several health problems, including heat cramps, which are painful spasms of your arms, legs and/or abdominal muscles," Patient First officials said in a press release. "People experiencing these symptoms should rest in a cooler place and drink water or fluids containing electrolytes."
Heat exhaustion symptoms include profuse sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, skin that feels cool and moist to the touch and muscle cramps, according to Patient First.
People exhibiting these symptoms should be moved to a cooler location. Apply cool wet cloths to their body and give them cool water to drink.
Physicians advise calling 911 if the person vomits or refuses to drink fluids. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.
Officials also recommend checking in on elderly neighbors to make sure they're OK.
Residents are also reminded not to leave children or pets in hot cars. Temperatures in closed cars can reach as high as 200 degrees, according to a WBAL-TV report.
Fatalities can result from extreme heat conditions. There have not been any confirmed heat-related deaths this year, according to WBAL.
There were 34 confirmed deaths in 2011 between May and August, and 32 heat-related deaths in 2010, according to the report.
How do you plan to weather the heat wave? Do you have a favorite way to beat the heat? Tell us in the comments section.