Over 5 million individuals stay in Alabama. Many of those individuals have skilled pure disasters within the state firsthand or needed to evacuate due to disasters. Nonetheless, many Alabamans don’t notice simply what number of kinds of pure disasters can happen within the state.

This evaluation goes over what pure disasters happen in Alabama, the worst pure disasters to hit the state since 2000, and what residents can do to organize.

Is Alabama At Danger of Pure Disasters?

In comparison with the remainder of the US, Alabama has a medium threat of pure disasters. Alabama has had 47 catastrophe declarations since 2000. Of those, 38 had been declared main disasters. 

Alabama can also be often hit by pure disasters, which trigger greater than $1 billion in damages. Since 2000, there have been greater than 73 separate $1-billion occasions.

Observe that these occasions – reminiscent of Hurricanes Nicolas and Ida – affected close by states as properly. The occasions didn’t trigger $1 billion in damages in Alabama alone and weren’t all the time devastating sufficient to advantage a catastrophe declaration.

Pure disasters happen throughout all occasions of the 12 months in Alabama however are commonest from March to October.

alabama billlion dollar events

Worst Pure Disasters in Alabama

Since 2000, the entire worst pure disasters in Alabama have been hurricanes. The most costly ones had been hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Ida, Irma, and Ike. Along with hurricanes, tornadoes and warmth waves have been notably devastating in Alabama and brought on many deaths.

Worst Pure Disasters in Alabama By Price (Since 2000)

  1. Hurricane Katrina 2005: $186.3 billion
  2. Hurricane Harvey 2017: $148.8 billion
  3. Hurricane Ida 2021: $78.7 billion
  4. Hurricane Irma 2017: $59.5 billion
  5. Hurricane Ike 2008: $40.2 billion

Worst Pure Disasters in Alabama By Deaths (Since 2000)

  1. Hurricane Katrina 2005: 1,833 deaths
  2. Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest Tornadoes 2011: 321 deaths
  3. 2000 Western Central/SE Drought and Warmth Wave 2000: 140 deaths
  4. 2012 Drought and Warmth Wave: 123 deaths
  5. Hurricane Rita 2005: 119 deaths

*Price and dying tolls are for all the catastrophe, together with in different states affected.

Most Frequent Pure Disasters in Alabama

1. Extreme Storms

Alabama is usually hit by extreme storms, together with tornadoes. Since 1950, there have been over 600 tornadoes in Alabama with a magnitude of two (F2) or above. A number of of those had been rated F5 or above. As a result of the chance is so excessive, residents ought to have an underground twister storm shelter.

Since 2000, the state has declared catastrophe 26 occasions due to extreme storms. Of all of the $1 billion occasions to hit Alabama throughout that interval, greater than half had been extreme storms. These collectively brought on $10-$20 billion in damages. 

Along with twister storms, Alabama additionally usually has extreme thunderstorms. The excessive winds and lightning can harm roofs and siding. Falling tree branches additionally pose a threat. In 2021 alone, there have been 27 days in Alabama with a extreme storm occasion.

Extreme storms happen in all components of Alabama however are probably within the northern components of the state. They happen most often in March and April.

Worst Tornadoes in Current Alabama Historical past

  1. April 2011 Tornadoes: $13.3 billion in damages and 321 deaths
  2. Might 2003 Tornadoes: $6.6 billion in damages and 51 deaths
  3. March 2012 Tornadoes: $4 billion in damages and 42 deaths
  4. April 2020 Tornadoes: $3.9 billion in damages and 35 deaths
  5. March 2017 Extreme Climate: $3.2 billion in damages and no deaths

2. Hurricanes

Alabama is likely one of the most at-risk states for hurricanes. Since 2000, there have been 18 billion-dollar hurricanes which have affected Alabama. Collectively, these hurricanes brought on $20 to $50 billion in damages.

The coastal space within the south of the state is most at-risk of hurricanes. Nonetheless, even individuals dwelling within the inland components of Alabama can have their properties destroyed, face energy outages, and different harm from hurricanes. Due to local weather change, hurricanes in Alabama are solely prone to get stronger and happen extra often.

Current Hurricanes in Alabama ($1 billion occasions):

  1. Hurricane Nicholas Sept 2021
  2. Hurricane Ida August 2021
  3. Tropical Storm Fred August 2021
  4. Hurricane Zeta October 2020
  5. Hurricane Delta October 2020

Worst Hurricanes in Alabama Historical past

  1. Hurricane Katrina 2005: $186.3 billion in damages and 1,833 deaths
  2. Hurricane Harvey 2017: $148.8 billion in damages and 89 deaths
  3. Hurricane Ida 2021: $78.7 billion in damages and 96 deaths
  4. Hurricane Irma 2017: $59.5 billion in damages and 97 deaths
  5. Hurricane Ike 2008: $40.2 billion in damages and 112 deaths

For extra, learn: The right way to Put together for a Hurricane

fema hurricane risk map

3. Flooding

Alabama has solely had one $1 billion flood occasion since 2000. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply Alabama isn’t prone to flooding. Floods often happen in Alabama attributable to hurricanes, heavy rainfall, and river overflowing. Flash floods may happen.

The 2020 First Nationwide Flood Danger Evaluation estimated that over 330,000 properties in Alabama are prone to flooding. This contains 29% of properties in Cell and 17% in Birmingham. Due to local weather change, the chance of flooding will solely get greater in Alabama.

Current Main Floods in Alabama:

  • March 2022: Elements of Birmingham had been flooded after heavy rainfalls, inflicting a number of individuals to get trapped of their automobiles.
  • October 2021: 4 individuals died after heavy rains brought on speedy flooding. The deaths occurred when the flood water swept away automobiles. Fireplace officers needed to carry out 82 rescues from flooded properties and one other 20 rescues from automobiles.
  • Sept 2021: Heavy rains brought on roadways in Tuscaloosa to flood. One particular person died, and plenty of needed to be rescued from their automobiles.

Additionally learn: The right way to Put together for Flood Disasters

alabama flood events since 1996
Picture reveals flood occasions in Alabama since 1996

4. Warmth Waves and Drought

Alabama is the 4th wettest state in America and droughts are usually unusual. Nonetheless, drought threat is rising, with many components of the state listed as “abnormally dry.” An estimated 1.3 million individuals in Alabama stay in drought areas.

Warmth waves typically include drought. Warmth-wave fatalities aren’t widespread, however accidents do happen. For instance, through the 2007 warmth wave in Alabama, almost 700 individuals had been handled for warmth stress. Drought additionally massively impacts Alabama’s agriculture, inflicting crop failures and decrease yields. 

Additionally learn: The right way to Put together for Warmth Waves

heat wave risk

5. Wildfires

As a result of it has a moist local weather, Alabama isn’t at excessive threat for wildfires. Additional, Alabama State has taken fire-prevention strategies, reminiscent of thinning bushes inclined to fireplace. However wildfires are nonetheless a priority in Alabama. 

The state averages 1,300 wildfires per 12 months, however the quantity is greater throughout occasions of drought. In 2021, when 1/3 of Alabama was experiencing abnormally dry situations, there have been over 1,600 wildfires that consumed over 35,000 acres. The smoke from wildfires in Alabama could cause respiratory issues and improve the chance of lung most cancers, stroke, and different diseases.

The chance of wildfires in Alabama is barely rising, so residents ought to take steps to organize. This contains being able to evacuate shortly, protecting important paperwork secure from fireplace, and having respirator masks to guard their lungs from smoke inhalation.

fema wildfire risk map

6. Snow Storms and Freezing

Whereas Alabama isn’t at excessive threat of extreme winter climate, it doesn’t imply that occasions don’t happen. Since 2000, there have been 4 winter storm and freeze occasions in Alabama which brought on greater than $1 billion in harm.

As a result of chilly climate occasions don’t often happen in Alabama, they will catch residents unprepared. Energy outages typically happen throughout these winter storms, and few individuals in Alabama have backup mills or an emergency heater. The highway situations can also turn out to be tough for driving, and car accidents happen.

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