Sorry, no content matched your criteria.
Essential Guide to Natural Disasters in Alabama
Drought & Extreme Heat in Alabama
Alabama is experiencing an upward trend of drought. National Weather Service (NWS) Drought Monitor has ranked the probability of drought in Alabama on their drought monitor on a scale of 1-10, where ten indicates that the whole state is in drought. The monitoring of the threat has shown that the number of 10s is increasing more than it has in previous decades.
Extreme heat can result in more than just physical discomfort - it can be deadly too. Extreme heat is defined by temperatures over 93 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four consecutive days or 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for any part of one day. On average, Birmingham experiences four days per year where temperatures are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit and these days will get hotter each year as temperatures continue to rise.
Earthquakes in Alabama
Earthquakes are one of the most common natural disasters in Alabama. Alabama has approximately hundreds of earthquakes per year, with most happening in the Northeast of the state, in the mountains. The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado gives a 10% chance of a major earthquake happening over the next 50 years in Alabama. Earthquakes are caused by volcanic activity or when two plates push together - when they can't move past each other, they release seismic waves that cause shaking.
Floods in Alabama
Floods can be caused by heavy rainfall or even melting snow. Flooding typically happens when there is more water than the ground can absorb. You should take precautions for floods if you live in an area with a history of flooding, where soil has been modified by improperly draining surface water, where topography is steep, and when there are already natural hazards present in the area.
Hurricanes in Alabama
Hurricanes can be a devastating natural disaster, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what makes them so dangerous. Find out the truth behind these misconceptions and how you can prepare for one coming your way.
A hurricane is a storm with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher that form from storms in equatorial regions. You might think that all hurricanes are equal or that they never differ in severity, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Hurricanes are classified into five different categories after they've occurred, depending on their wind speeds, proximity to land mass, and size. The vast majority of the time, these come up as CAT 1 hurricanes, CAT 2 hurricanes, or CAT 3/4 hurricanes. However, more severe hurricanes are possible, with CAT 5 being the most severe.
After a hurricane has occurred, it becomes even more important to know what makes them so dangerous and what you can do about it. Some common misconceptions about hurricanes include:
1. Hurricanes only happen in the Gulf of Mexico
This is completely false; hurricanes can occur anywhere in the ocean that has water temperatures of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. All hurricanes are equal and equally severe
As mentioned above, this isn't true. Some hurricanes can be more severe than others, depending on wind speeds and size, as well as how close they come to land mass and other areas with people living in them.
3. Hurricanes only happen during an active hurricane season
While the greatest number of hurricanes occur between mid-August and early October, they can happen at any point during the year as long as water temperatures are warm enough to support them.
4. Every home is equally affected by a hurricane!
This isn't true, either. Some areas are more or less prone to hurricanes than others, depending on their location, elevation, protection by natural barriers (such as hills and mountains), and other factors.
5. There is no way to completely prepare for a hurricane!
This isn't necessarily true; there are many things you can do after the fact in order to prepare and protect yourself and your family members.
If you think a hurricane is about to hit the southern Alabama area, there are things you can do to prepare for it:
- Gather supplies into a survival kit or "bug out bag". Gather water, nonperishable food items, first aid supplies, and flashlights as well as whatever other necessary supplies that may be specific to you and your family's needs.
- Know when to evacuate. If you live in a flood zone or near the ocean, this is especially important because hurricanes can be extremely dangerous even if they aren't severe for the area. Don't wait too long to leave if this is necessary; most deaths caused by hurricanes are directly related to people staying in their homes.
- Know when to hunker down. If you cannot leave your area for risk of flooding, don't try to go out into the hurricane itself. Instead, hunker down and wait it out. You'll be able to tell that it's over once the calm goes away and is replaced with rainstorms or thunderstorms.
Check on others. If you were lucky enough to be unaffected by the hurricane, make sure to check up on friends and family members who may have been affected by it. This includes checking up on neighbors, relatives, and other people in your community who may need help after a hurricane.
Landslides & Debris Flow in Alabama
Landslides and debris flows are common in mountainous regions. Alabama has a lot of mountainous regions, so it is a good place for these natural disasters to occur. Both landslides and debris flow can be caused by the same event, such as heavy rain over a long period of time. A landslide starts when a big chunk of land begins to slide downhill due to gravity. The force of the movement may cause rocks, dirt, trees, or other materials to move along with it until they fall off the slope and pile up at the bottom.
When there is a sudden change in temperature or heavy rainfall, water can collect on slopes during dry seasons and then begin flowing down them when it rains again. This wet debris will often be much more destructive than the dry dirt, because it will pick up larger rocks and other heavy materials as it flows.
Nuclear Disasters in Alabama
Alabama’s nuclear activity poses a threat to both the region and the rest of the world. This is due to the high populations of people who reside in close proximity to it. Nuclear disasters have caused injury, illness, and death to many people. It is essential to be aware of the risks surrounding nuclear material so you are better prepared for what might happen in Alabama or elsewhere in the world.
Power Outages in Alabama
Power outages are often caused by other natural disasters, but unplanned, extended power outages can occur on their own due to a cyberattack, equipment failure, or other issues. An unplanned power outage can quickly become a natural disaster on its own. Alabama is part of the Eastern Interconnect. That means that while Alabama can get backup power from neighboring states, a power outage in Georgia, Florida or surrounding states could impact the power grid in Alabama. If a power outage happens suddenly, it is very important to stay calm. You should also remember these three things:
- Turn off any equipment that automatically shuts down when there is a power outage (ex: coffee maker).
- Unplug all appliances, equipment, computers and other devices (ex: television) if the power is not restored within 5 minutes.
- Call your electric utility company or 911 if there are downed lines in the area, you smell something burning , or notice water near electrical equipment.
Severe Weather & Thunderstorms in Alabama
Alabama is no stranger to severe weather, especially in the summer. The state has seen hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, thunderstorms, and ice storms all in one summer season. Alabama is considered a part of at-risk area for severe weather occurrences because of its geographical location. While Alabama does have their share of severe weather throughout the year, there are more instances during the hottest months of June through August.
Sinkholes in Alabama
Sinkholes can form due to a variety of different reasons. In Alabama, sinkholes are often formed from weathering and erosion. This is because Alabama has a lot of limestone. Weathering and erosion can cause the limestone to weaken and then break down into pieces that have been eroded away from the surrounding rocks. These pieces will create a void under the surface, which may eventually collapse and create a sinkhole.
Tornadoes in Alabama
The state of Alabama has averaged about 52 tornadoes a year over the last 30 years. The peak time for these storms to strike is from 2 pm to 9 pm, when the temperatures are usually in the 70s and 80s. Even though the majority of these storms occur in Alabama, they can and do happen all over the country. Each year, the state averages about 9 fatalities and over 100 injuries.
Wildfires in Alabama
Wildfires are an increasing problem, and the National Forest Service is trying to stop them from spreading as much as possible. So far this year, there have been around 27 fires or areas of concern that have been monitored or controlled by the Forest Service with prescribed burns. Unfortunately, the fires have been catching up to them and there have been dozens of new fires this year as well - it is becoming a bigger problem with each year that passes.
Winter Weather in Alabama
Winter weather is a part of life in Alabama, and it's important to know what to expect. It's usually the coldest time of year for everyone who lives in Alabama. The average low temperature during winter is around 32-37 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow falls about 2-3 days a year, and ice on the roads is common as well. Windchills can make it feel like it's as cold as 20 degrees below zero some days.
The most dangerous part of winter weather doesn't happen during the snow or cold; it happens when you're trying to get from point A to point B on icy roads. With the snow and ice, you never know what you'll encounter next: a patch of snow that turns into a patch of ice, or black ice that you can't see at all. You have to stay alert and be prepared for anything! Alabama's icy roads are challenging enough, but when the power goes out in your home during a winter storm you need to know what resources are available to keep you warm until help arrives.
Natural disasters can happen anywhere, at any time. These natural disasters can be anything from severe weather to wildfires and sinkholes. It's important to know the signs of these events happening near you, what actions you should take when they do occur, and how to prepare for them in advance so that you are more prepared than ever before!