Gadsden, AL

Fast Facts

Founded: 1825 Population: 36,856 Time Zone: -6
Latitude: 34.012 N Longitude: 086.019 W Altitude: 538 ft
Average High: 72.4 Average Low: 49.2 Annual Precipitation: 56.10


Gadsden, Alabama, is located on the Coosa River in northeastern Alabama, United States, approximately 60 miles northeast of Birmingham. Gadsden is the county seat of Etowah County, AL. First settled by Europeans in 1810, Gadsden grew into a major manufacturing town with the invention of the Steam Boat.

The first substantial European settlement began as a small town called Double Springs. John Riley, a mixed Indian-white settler, built his house near two springs around 1825. Double Springs later became a stagecoach stop on the Huntsville-to-Rome route. The house changed hands to a couple named Gabriel and Asenath Hughes in 1840. Shortly thereafter, they began to purchase much of the land between Lookout Mountain, the Coosa River , and down to the mouth of Wills Creek. Their land, plus that of John S. Moragne and Joseph Rhea, became the first part of the city of Gadsden. Double Springs was transformed on July 4, 1845, when Captain James Lafferty piloted the first steamboat to the area, aptly named the Coosa. He landed near the site of the current Memorial Bridge on that date. The Hughes brothers offered to name the town "Lafferty's Landing" in his honor, but Lafferty declined. Instead, the name Gadsden was chosen, in honor of Colonel James Gadsden of South Carolina, famous for the later Gadsden Purchase.[1]

Gadsden grew to become one of the state's 2nd most important industrial centers, trailing only Mobile. Up until the 1980s, Gadsden was almost totally dependent on heavy industry, including Goodyear Tire, and Republic Steel. After virtually crumbling in the 1970s and 1980s, Gadsden decided its best course of action was to stop being dependent on industry, and shed its "company town" image. In 1991, Gadsden was awarded the honor of "All-America City" by the National Civic League, an award that honored the way Gadsden's citizens, businesses, government, and voluntary organizations all work together to address critical local issues.

  U.S. Census Quick Facts about Gadsden, AL.

  Census Reporter Demographic Profile about Gadsden, AL.


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 ◊  History of: Gadsden, AL
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Coosa River Memorial Bridge Main Street Pitman Theater


Spirit of American Citizenship Monument

  • 1810; First Settlers.
  • 1825; First House built by John Riley.
  • 1835; First Post Office.
  • 1838; Trail of Tears, Cherokee Nation.
  • 1845; First church, Lafferty's Landing, first steamboat on the upper Coosa River .
  • 1846; Original survey of Gadsden completed, Gadsden founded in honor of James Gadsden.
  • 1863; Emma Sansom leads General Forrest over Black Creek.
  • 1863, May 2-3; John Henry Wisdom rides 67 miles from Gadsden, AL, to Rome, GA, under very harassing conditions to warn the citizens of Col. Abel D. Streight's proposed march to burn Rome. Because of his efforts, barricades were erected and eventually Col. A. D. Streight's forces surrendered to General Bedford Forrest.
  • 1866; Etowah County formed (first known as Baine County).
  • 1867; First newspaper, The Gadsden Times.
  • 1868; Name of county changed to Etowah, which in Cherokee means a tree bearing good fruit.
  • 1868; First industry, Gaylor's Hat Factory.
  • 1870; First railroad.
  • 1870; First Courthouse.
  • 1872; Attalla incorporated.
  • 1876; Gadsden incorporated.
  • 1877; First public school.
  • 1882; First theater.
  • 1882; First iron works.
  • 1882; First hotel, Turrentine Inn.
  • 1883; First bank, Glenn& Brockway.
  • 1883, May 2; First fire department.
  • 1883, July 4; City's worst fire, which destroyed 21 businesses.
  • 1883; First opera house, Kyle Opera House.
  • 1883; Mayor/council form of government.
  • 1884; First college, Walnut Grove.
  • 1886; Walnut Grove incorporated.
  • 1886; First water works.
  • 1888; First bridge across the Coosa River (railroad/foot).
  • 1891; Alabama City founded.
  • 1904; First steel plant.
  • 1905; First hospital, Baptist Memorial.
  • 1905; Alabama's first hydroelectric plant begins operation. Note, the World's First Hydroelectric Power Plant Began Operation September 30, 1882, and was on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.
  • 1910; Broad Street paved with brick.
  • 1913; First street car in operation.
  • 1925; First radio station, WJBY.
  • 1927; Etowah County Memorial Bridge, over the Coosa River, dedicated to the memory of the Etowah County World War (World War I) heroes who made the supreme sacrifice for the country.
  • 1929; Goodyear opens first rubber plant in South.
  • 1932; Alabama City and Gadsden merge.
  • 1934; Final run for streetcar made.
  • 1935; Gadsden Amphitheatre and Convention Hall completed .
  • 1937; Republic Steel buys local plant.
  • 1939; Glencoe incorporated.
  • 1941; Gadsden Ordinance Plant built.
  • 1942; Gadsden Air Depot built.
  • 1942; Construction begins on Camp Sibert. Camp Sibert was the first large-scale chemical agent training area in the United States and operated from 1942 to 1945, and was also iused as a POW camp.
  • 1946; Hokes Bluff incorporated.
  • 1946; Noccalula Falls lands bought.
  • 1949; Southside incorporated.
  • 1949; Gadsden/Etowah gets first major airline.
  • 1953; Ola Lee Mize awarded Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • 1957; Reece City incorporated.
  • 1958; Gadsden Air Depot closes.
  • 1963; Sardis and Mountainboro incorporated.
  • 1969; Ridgeville incorporated.
  • 1974; Gadsden Mall built.
  • 1984; Ling-Temco-Vought assumes ownership of steel plant.
  • 1984; Martin Luther King Center dedicated.
  • 2006; Population 37,291.
  • 2010; Population 36,856.

Good Year Plant

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State History[3]

  • Alabama is about the same size as Greece.(SSFC, 10/9/05, Par p.27)
  • The Choctaw phrase "Alba Ayamule" translates as "I open the thicket" and is the listed origin of the state's name. (SFC, 10/31/98, p.D4)

Ancient times[4]

  • ca. 40,000-15,000 B.C.; People migrate to North America from Asia at irregular intervals by way of the Bering Land Bridge.
  • 10,000-8000 B.C.; Paleo-Indian culture of seminomadic hunter-foragers living in open countryside and in natural rock shelters (e.g. Russell Cave in Jackson County and the Stanfield-Worley bluff shelter in Colbert County).
  • 7,000 BC - 1,000 BC; Archaic Period of Native American hunter-gatherer culture as Indians build temporary dwellings, add shellfish to their diets, and fashion atlatls (spear throwers) to hunt small game.
  • 2,500 BC - 100 BC; Gulf Formational Period of Indian culture with increasing sophistication in ceramic development with tempered pottery.
  • 1,000 B.C.-A.D. 1550; Woodland-culture American Indians settle in permanent locations, usually beside streams, and practice a mixed subsistence lifestyle of hunting, gathering, and some agriculture. They create pottery and also develop elaborate funeral procedures, such as building mounds, to honor their dead.
  • 300 BC - 1000 AD; Woodland Period of permanent houses, embellished pottery, bows and arrows, and maize and squash cultivation.
  • A.D. 700-1550; Mississippian-culture American Indians create large political units called chiefdoms, uniting people under stronger leadership than the Woodland cultures have. Towns become larger and last longer. People construct flat-topped, pyramidal mounds to serve as foundations for temples, mortuaries, chiefs' houses, and other important buildings. Towns are usually situated beside streams and surrounded by defensive structures. The Etowah Indian Mounds just west of the confluence of Pumpkinvine Creek and the Etowah River south of Cartersville, GA, are an example of the mounds built during this period.
  • 950 to 1250; Medieval Warm Period.
  • 1300-1850: The Little Ice Age.


1500 - 1699



1700 - 1899


  • 1702, January 20; Le Moyne brothers, d' Iberville and de Bienville, establish French fort and settlement, Fort Louis de la Mobile, on a bluff twenty-seven miles up the Mobile River from Mobile Bay.
  • 1704, October 3; Cassette Girls arrive in Mobile. King Louis XIV pays passage and dowries for twenty-five young women to travel from France on board The Pelican to colony of Louisiana to become wives of colonists. Other Cassette Girls arrived in 1728.
  • 1711; Mobile moved from Twenty-seven Mile Bluff to permanent site at the mouth of the Mobile River.
  • 1717; Fort Toulouse on the Coosa River constructed to trade with the Indians and offset influence of British; farthest eastward penetration of the French.
  • 1720; French Louisiana capitol moved from Mobile west to Biloxi, MS, then to New Orleans (1722).
  • 1721; Africane sails into Mobile harbor with cargo of over 100 slaves.
  • 1724; French Code Noir extended from French West Indies to North American colonies, institutionalizing slavery in Mobile area.
  • 1756 - 1763; Seven Years War (French and Indian War) won by Great Britain. France ceded territorial claims east of the Mississippi River to Britain and those west of the River (including New Orleans) to Spain; Great Britain returned war-captured Cuba to Spain for Florida, which was divided into West Florida (including Mobile) and East Florida (the peninsula).
  • 1764, April 5: The Sugar Act is passed. This is the first serious dispute between the colonies and Great Britain.
  • 1765, March 22: The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act.
  • 1766, March 18;: King George III signs bill to rescind the Stamp Act.
  • 1767, June 29: The Townshend Revenue Act passed by Parliament. The Act imposes duties on tea, glass, paint, oil, lead and paper imported into the colonies. The estimated revenue is £40,000 per annum. Charles Townsend, is Chancellor of the Exchequer. Townshend said, "These colonies are children of the mother country. They were planted by our care and nurtured by us. They will not grudge us their mite to help with the heavy burden we bear. "James Habersham warns the British, "If you persist in your right to tax the colonists, you will drive them to rebellion."
  • 1774, October 14 - A Declaration of Rights and Grievances adopted by the Continental Congress. George Washington writes "no thinking man in all of North America desires independence".
  • 1775 - 1783; American Revolution creates United States of America governed by the Articles of Confederation.
  • 1779; Spain, the United States' unsung ally, asks Britain to recognize the independence of the thirteen united States of America and to cease hostilities. Spain contributes over $5,000,000 to the revolution.
  • 1780, March 14: Spanish capture Mobile during American Revolution and retain the West and East Floridas as part of war-ending treaty.
  • 1787; United States Constitution written.
  • 1790; Creek Indians, led by Alexander McGillivray, negotiate the Treaty of New York with the U.S. government. The treaty ceded Creek territory in Georgia to the new nation, and acknowledged Indian rights in western Georgia and Alabama.
  • 1793; Eli Whitney invents cotton gin.
  • 1794, March 22: President George Washington signs the Slave Trade Act of 1794 into law. The Slave Trade Act of 1794 was a law passed by the United States Congress that prohibited American ships from engaging the international slave trade. [Ref ]
  • 1797 - 1799; U.S. Surveyor General Andrew Ellicott makes survey that establishes U.S. claims for its southern boundary with Spanish West Florida at the 31st parallel. Ellicott's Stone is placed north of Mobile in 1799 to mark the 31st parallel.
  • 1798; Mississippi Territory organized from Georgia's western land claims, including Alabama.
  • 1799, May 5; U.S. Army Lieutenant John McClary takes possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish, and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama.
  • 1802; Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel.
  • 1803; Louisiana Purchase from France gives U.S. immense new territory and port of New Orleans.
  • 1803 - 1811; Federal Road conceived and built connecting Milledgeville, Georgia, and Fort Stoddert, an American outpost north of Mobile.
  • 1805 - 1806; Indian cessions opened up to white settlement large portions of western (Choctaw) and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Alabama.
  • 1810; West Florida, from Pearl River to the Mississippi, annexed by U.S. from Spain.
  • 1811 - 1812; Schools established at St. Stephens (Washington Academy, 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy, 1812).
  • 1811 - 1816; Newspapers established in Mobile (Centinel, May 11, 1811; Gazette, 1812) and Huntsville (Alabama Republican, 1816).
  • 1812 - 1815; War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain.
    • April 1813; U.S. annexes West Florida, from the Pearl River to the Perdido River, from Spain; Spanish surrender Mobile to American forces (April 15).
    • September 15, 1814; British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.
    • February 11, 1815; British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.
  • 1813 - 1814; Creek Indian War, a part of the War of 1812, fought largely within the boundaries of present-day Alabama. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee becomes a military hero as he leads U.S. forces against the "Red Stick" Creeks. [5][6]
  • 1817, March 3; The Alabama Territory is created when Congress passes the enabling act allowing the division of the Mississippi Territory and the admission of Mississippi into the union as a state.
  • 1818, Janurary 19; The first legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in the territorial capital of St. Stephens.
  • 1818; "The Alabama", the area's first steamboat, constructed in St. Stephens.
  • 1818; Cedar Creek Furnace, the state's first blast furnace and commerical pig-iron producer, established in present-day Franklin County.
  • 1818, November 21; Cahaba designated by the territorial legislature as Alabama's state capital. Huntsville would serve temporarily as state capital.
  • 1819, March 2; President James Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act.
    • July 5 - August 2; Constitutional Convention meets in Huntsville and adopts state constitution.
    • September 20-21; The first general election for governor, members of Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs is held as specified by state constitution. Territorial governor William Wyatt Bibb is elected the state's first governor.
    • October 25 - December 17; General Assembly [legislature] meets in Huntsville while the Cahaba capitol is constructed.
    • October 28; Legislature elects William Rufus King and John W. Walker as Alabama's first U.S. senators.
    • December 14; Alabama enters Union as 22nd state.
  • 1819; An American Naval Squadron is sent to the cost of Africa to suppressing the Transatlantic slave trade.[Ref ]
  • 1820; With the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, both the United States and Great Britain agreed to work towards ending the slave trade. The U.S. Navy's role in the struggle against slavery began in 1820 when warships deployed off West Africa to catch American slave ships.[Ref 1][Ref 2]
  • 1820, May 8; The Alabama Supreme Court, composed of Alabama's circuit court judges, convenes for the first time.
  • 1820, July 10; Gov. William Wyatt Bibb dies as a result of injuries received in a riding accident. His younger brother Thomas Bibb, president of the state senate, automatically becomes governor, as required by the state constitution.
  • 1820, October 22; The steamboat Harriet reaches Montgomery after ten days of travel from Mobile. This was the first successful attempt to navigate so far north on the Alabama River, and it opened river trade between Montgomery and Mobile.
  • 1822, December; Legislature charters Athens Female Academy, which later becomes Athens State University.
  • 1825; French general and American Revolution hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, tours Alabama at Governor Israel Pickens invitation.
  • 1826; The Capital of Alabama is moved to Tuscaloosa.
  • 1830, January 19; LaGrange College chartered by legislature; eventually becomes the University of North Alabama. The college actually opened its doors to students on January 11, 1830.
  • 1830 - 1838; President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Bill approved by Congress (1830); land cession treaties follow between the U.S. and each of the Indian peoples with a presence in Alabama, each of whom cede their remaining lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for western lands.
  • 1831; Nat Turner slave insurrection in Virginia.
  • 1832, April 13; University of Alabama formally opens its doors.
  • 1832; Bell Factory (Madison County), state's first textile mill, chartered by legislature.
  • 1832, June 12; Alabama's first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia.
  • 1833, November 12-13; A fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as "the night stars fell on Alabama."
  • 1833; Daniel Pratt establishes cotton gin factory north of Montgomery; his company town, Prattville (founded 1839), would become a manufacturing center in the antebellum South.
  • 1835; Alabama gold rush, concentrated in east-central hill country, begins; peaks the next year.
  • 1835; Dr. James Marion Sims, "the Father of Modern Gynecology," establishes medical practice in Mt. Meigs, then in nearby Montgomery (1840). He moved on to New York in 1853 to found renowned Woman's Hospital.
  • 1836; Texas War for Independence from Mexico.
  • 1836 - 1837; Second Creek War (Seminole War); Battle of Hobdy's Bridge last Indian battle in Alabama (1837).
  • 1842 August; The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, between the United States and Great Britain is signed in to suppress the slave trade. To enforce the anti-slave trade, the US Navy deployed a permanent African Squadron. Despite the vigilance of American, as well as British and French, warships in African waters, the overseas slave trade increased in the 1850s, owing to the high demand for slaves in Latin America. The U.S. Navy's participation ended with the start of the U.S. Civil War, April 1861.[Ref 1][Ref 2]
  • 1845 - 1848; U.S. annexes Texas; the Mexican-American War follows. Alabamians volunteered in large numbers to fight, but only the 1st Alabama regiment, a battalion, and several independent companies actually were received into federal service.
  • 1846, January 28; Legislature selects Montgomery as new capital; begins its first session there December 6, 1847.
  • 1848, February 2; The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed. The treaty established the U.S. - Mexican border of the Rio Grande River, and ceded to the United States the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, most of Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming. In return, Mexico received US $18,250,000 ($461,725,000 [2011])-less than half the amount the U.S. had attempted to offer Mexico for the land before the opening of hostilities-and the U.S. agreed to assume $3.25-million ($82,225,000 [2011]) in debts that the Mexican government owed to U.S. citizens. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo specified that, language and cultural rights of the existing inhabitants being considered as inviolable. [Ref]
  • 1856; Alabama Coal Mining Company begins first systematic underground mining in the state near Montevallo.
  • 1856; East Alabama Male College established at Auburn by Methodists; evolved into Auburn University.
  • 1858, October 4; Alabama School for the Deaf founded in Talladega; evolved into the state-supported Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind.
  • 1860; Federal Census:
    • State population = 964,201.
    • White population = 526,271 (54.58 % of state population)
    • African-American population = 437,770 (45.40 % of state population)
    • Slave population = 435,080 (99.39 % of African-American population)
    • Free black population = 2,690 (0.61 % of African-American population)
  • 1861 - 1865 American Civil War. 194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama during the Civil War. [More Information]
  • 1865 - 1876; Era of Reconstruction in the South.
  • 1865, September 12; New Alabama Constitution adopted to comply with Presidential Reconstruction dictates to rejoin Union; rejected by U.S. Congress.
  • 1865, December 6: The Abolishment of Slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, thus officially abolishing slavery in the U.S. While the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the US, slavery still exists in other countries. As late as 2021, 167 counties allow slavery. [Ref 1] [Ref 2]

    Distribution of slaves (1519–1867)
    shipped from Africa to the Western Hemisphere.[Ref ]
    Destination Percent
    Portuguese America 38.5%
    British West Indies 18.4%
    Spanish Empire 17.5%
    French West Indies 13.6%
    English/British North America/United States 9.7%
    Dutch West Indies 2.0%
    Danish West Indies 0.3%

    • Before 1820, the number of enslaved Africans transported across the Atlantic to the New World was triple the number of Europeans who reached North and South American shores. At the time this was the largest oceanic displacement or migration in history, eclipsing even the far-flung, but less-dense, expansion of Austronesian-Polynesian explorers.
    • The number of Africans who arrived in each region is calculated from the total number of slaves imported, about 10,000,000
    • Includes British Guiana and British Honduras.
    • The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 did not completely end slave imports to the United States and it is estimated that between 1808 and 1861 roughly fifty-four thousand (54,000) slaves were smuggled into the nation.[Ref ]

  • 1866; Lincoln Normal School founded as private institution for African-Americans at Marion; relocated to Montgomery (1887) and evolved into Alabama State University.
  • 1868; Reconstruction Constitution ratified (February) gaining Alabama readmission to the Union, and allowing black suffrage for the first time.
  • 1871; Birmingham, AL, is founded. Birmingham evolves into center of Southern iron and steel industry.
  • 1871, November; James Rapier of Lauderdale County elected to U.S. Congress, one of three African American congressmen elected from Alabama during Reconstruction. Benjamin Turner served from 1871-1873 and Jeremiah Haralson served 1875-1877.
  • 1875, November 16; Alabama's Constitution of 1875 is ratified. The Bourbon Democrats, or "Redeemers", having claimed to "redeem" the Alabama people from the Reconstruction rule of carpetbaggers and scalawags, wrote a new constitution to replace the one of 1868. It was a conservative document that gave the Democrats, and especially Black Belt planters, a firm grip on their recently reacquired control of state government.
  • 1876; Gadsden, AL, is incorporated.
  • 1880; National Baptist Convention (African-American Baptists) organized at Montgomery.
  • 1880, June 27; Helen Keller is born in Tuscumbia. Having lost both sight and hearing by illness as a small child, Keller's life story and activism inspired new attitudes toward those with handicaps.
  • 1881, February 10; The Alabama Legislature establishes Tuskegee Institute as a "normal school for the education of colored teachers." The law stipulated that no tuition would be charged and graduates must agree to teach for two years in Alabama schools. Booker T. Washington was chosen as the first superintendent and arrived in Alabama in June 1881. Washington's leadership would make Tuskegee one of the most famous and celebrated historic black colleges in the U.S.
  • 1893, February 22; The first Auburn/Alabama football game is played in Birmingham's Lakeview Park before a crowd of 5,000 spectators. Auburn won this first match-up 32-22. The rivalry continued until 1907 when the games were stopped, with the renewal of the series not coming until 1948.
  • 1893, September 30; Julia Tutwiler persuades the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama to try a qualified form of co-education. A faculty committee agreed to "admit young women of not less than 18 years of age, of good character and antecedents, who are able to stand the necessary examinations: for entrance to the sophomore class or higher." A required proviso was that "suitable homes and protection" be provided. In the fall of 1893, two women students entered the university.
  • 1895; Booker T. Washington speech to the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, GA, urges racial accommodation, suggesting blacks seek economic independence rather than political/social equality.
  • 1896, October 8; George Washington Carver arrives in Macon County to direct Tuskegee Institute's agricultural school. Born a slave in Missouri during the Civil War, Carver was studying in Iowa when school president Booker T. Washington invited him to Alabama. He remained at Tuskegee until his death in 1943, and although he dedicated much of his work to helping black farmers in the South, Carver's international fame came from his innovative uses of peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other southern products.
  • 1896; Plessy v. Ferguson decision by U.S. Supreme Court establishes "separate but equal" doctrine in racial policy.
  • 1898, February 15; The USS Maine (ACR-1) exploded and sinks in Havana Harbor, Cuba.
  • 1898; Spanish-American War.
  • 1899; The boll weevil crosses the Rio Grande from Mexico.


1900 - 1999


  • 1901, January 31; Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, is born in Huntsville, AL.
  • 1901, March 2; Trustees of the Alabama Department of Archives and History meet in Gov. William J. Samford's office to organize the nation's first state archival agency.
  • 1902, November 29; The New York Medical Record publishes an account of Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performing the first open heart surgery in the western hemisphere when he sutured a knife wound in a young boy's heart. Dr. Hill was the father of Alabama politician and U.S. senator Lister Hill.
  • 1904; Colonel William Crawford Gorgas of Alabama begins elimination of scourges of yellow fever and malaria in Panama Canal Zone.
  • 1904 Sculptor Giuseppe Moretti created an iron statue of Vulcan to represent Alabama Industry and Birmingham, AL, at the St. Louis World's Fair.
  • 1909; Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, establish "flying school" on land outside Montgomery , AL, (present site of Maxwell Air Force Base) six years after their first flights.
  • 1909; Boll Weevil, insect destroyer of cotton, enters state from Mississippi border.
  • 1914 - 1918 The First World War. [More Information]
  • 1918: Flu Epidemic infected 500 million people across the world, and killed 50 to 100 million. (see 1918 flu pandemic for more information.)[Ref]
  • 1920, August 18: Women win the right to vote when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified by Tennessee.
  • 1924, June 2: Congress passes the Indian Citizenship Act, conferring citizenship on Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.[Ref].
  • 1929 - 1940: The Great Depression and New Deal.
    • The beginning of the Great Depression in the United States is associated with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. The depression had devastating effects in both the industrialized countries and those which exported raw materials.
    • 1933: The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is created as part of the The New Deal to develop resources of poor Appalachian South South, including large parts of north Alabama.
    • The New Deal is the title President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to a sequence of programs and promises he initiated between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of giving relief, reform and recovery to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression.
  • 1931, March 25: Nine black youths, soon to be known as the Scottsboro Boys, are arrested in Paint Rock and jailed in Scottsboro, the Jackson County seat. Charged with raping two white women on a freight train from Chattanooga, TN, the sheriff had to protect them from mob violence that night. Within a month, eight of the nine were sentenced to death. Based on questionable evidence, the convictions by an all-white jury generated international outrage.
  • 1931, September 18: Japan invades Manchuria.
  • 1935: The Soviet Union declares that the fascist states of Germany and Japan are the enemies.
  • 1935, October 3: The Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italian armed forces from Eritrea invaded Ethiopia without a declaration of war. In response Ethiopia declares war on Italy. On October 7, the League of Nations declared Italy to be the aggressor, and started the slow process of imposing limited sanctions on Italy.
  • 1936, August 3: Lawrence County native Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Owens went on to win four gold medals in Berlin, Germany, but German leader Adolf Hitler snubbed the star athlete because he was black. Today visitors can learn more about Owens at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum in Oakville, Alabama.
  • 1937, December 13 – January 1938: The Nanking Massacre was a mass murder (50,000–300,000 dead) and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. [Ref]
  • 1939 - 1945 World War II. [More Information]

  • 1944, January 2: The State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the A.R. Jackson Well No. 1 near Gilbertown, Choctaw County. This will become the first oil well in Alabama.
  • 1946: Hokes Bluff, AL, incorporated.
  • 1950 - 1953: The Korean War is fought in Korea.
  • 1954: U.S. Supreme Court decides in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka that "separate" schools cannot be "equal." This paved the way for desegregation and the civil rights movement.
  • 1955, December 1: Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a boarding white passenger as required by Montgomery city ordinance. Her action prompted the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott and earned her a place in history as "the mother of the modern day civil rights movement." Ms. Parks was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in August 2000.
  • 1956, January 30: With the Montgomery Bus Boycott about to enter its third month, segregationists bomb the home of boycott spokesman Martin Luther King Jr.. The home sustained moderate damage, but no one was injured. The young minister addressed the large crowd that gathered after the blast, declaring, "I want it to be known the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped this movement will not stop."
  • 1956: Army Ballistic Missile Agency established at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL .
  • 1956: Autherine Lucy unsuccessfully attempts to desegregate the University of Alabama.
  • 1956, December 21, The Supreme Court ruling banning segregated seating on Montgomery's public transit vehicles goes into effect. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were among the first people to ride a fully integrated bus, ending the historic year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott .
  • 1957: Soviet satellite "SPUTNIK" launched to begin "Space Race."
  • 1958: The Huntsville-built "Jupiter" rocket places American satellite in orbit around Earth.
  • 1960, September 8: The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gov. John Patterson and Werner von Braun, director of the space flight center, were in attendance as was Mrs. Marshall who unveiled a bust in honor of her husband.
  • 1961: "Freedom Rides" through the Deep South challenge racial segregation on public carriers and spark into violence in Anniston, Birmingham, AL,, and Montgomery . The Freedom Ride eventually resulted in a campaign that caused the Interstate Commerce Commission to rule against segregated facilities in interstate travel.
  • 1962, November 30: Football and baseball star, Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson was born in Bessemer. Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 1985 and was the first professional athlete to be named an all star in two major sports.
  • 1963, May 19: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is issued to the public in a press release. Begun April 16 from the Birmingham City Jail, where King was under arrest for participation in civil rights demonstrations, the letter was addressed to eight local clergymen who had recently urged civil rights leaders to use the courts and local negotiations instead of mass demonstrations to promote their cause in Birmingham, AL,. King's letter, which soon became a classic text of the civil rights movement, rejected the clergymen's plea.
  • 1964, June 11: The USS Alabama (BB-60) is moored in Mobele Bay and becomes a Museum ship.
  • 1965, March 21: Rev. Martin Luther King leads 3,200 marchers from Selma toward Montgomery in support of civil rights for black Americans (Selma to Montgomery marches), after two earlier marches had ended at the Edmund Pettus Bridge--the first in violence and the second in prayer. Four days later, outside the Alabama state capitol, King told 25,000 demonstrators that "we are on the move now . . . and no wave of racism can stop us."
  • 1965, August 6: President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
  • 1974, April 8: Mobile native Henry Louis ":Hank": Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run to break Babe Ruth's longstanding record. Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs.
  • 1982, November: Oscar Adams was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, becoming the first African American elected to statewide constitutional office in Alabama.
  • 1992: Autherine Lucy she earned her Masters degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama that she had applied to decades earlier.


2000 - 2009


  • 2001: Birmingham, AL, native Condoleezza Rice is appointed National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. She is the first woman to occupy that position.
  • 2004, November 16: President George W. Bush nominates National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to serve as Secretary of State. The Birmingham, AL, native is the first African American woman to serve in that office. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 26, 2005.
  • 2005, August 29: Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 hurricane, makes landfall on the Louisiana coast, and becomes one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history. Katrina leaves a wake of destruction stretching across the northern Gulf coast from Louisiana to Florida.
  • 2007,         Mar 1: A violent storm system ripped apart an Alabama high school as students hunkered inside and later tore through Georgia, hitting a hospital and raising the death toll to at least 20 across the Midwest and Southeast. Eight students died when a tornado struck Alabama’s Enterprise High School.    (AP, 3/1/07)
  • 2007, March 29: About 350 Tuskegee Airmen and their widows were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in the US Capitol rotunda. The medal will go on display at the Smithsonian Institution; individual honorees will receive bronze replicas.
  • 2007,        May 11: Germany’s steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG said it will build a new $4.19 billion steel plant in Alabama. Deutsche Telekom employees began an open-ended strike in protest at restructuring measures at Europe's biggest telecoms operator.    (AP, 5/11/07)(AFP, 5/11/07)
  • 2007,        May 24; The Alabama Legislature passed a resolution that expressed profound regret for the state’s role in slavery. Gov. Bob Riley was expected to sign it. In recent months Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia made formal apologies.    (SFC, 5/26/07, p.A3)
  • 2007,        Jun 4: Jim Clark (84), sheriff and segregationist from Alabama, died. He turned back the march 7, 1965, civil rights march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge leaving 57 people injured. National revulsion led to the Voting Rights Act later that year.    (Econ, 6/16/07, p.99)
  • 2008,        Feb 5: Storms swept across southeast US as Super Tuesday primaries were ending. At least 31 people were killed in Tennessee, 13 in Arkansas, 7 in Kentucky and four in Alabama. It was one of the 15 worst tornado death tolls since 1950, and the nation's deadliest barrage of tornadoes since 76 people were killed in Pennsylvania and Ohio on May 31, 1985. The death toll rose to 59.    (AP, 2/6/08)(AP, 2/7/08)(WSJ, 2/8/08, p.A1)
  • 2008,        Jul 1: An Alabama jury found Glaxo and Novartis guilty of drug-price fraud and ordered them to pay $114 million. (WSJ, 7/2/08, p.A1)
  • 2008,        Dec 22: In Tennessee a dam broke at the Kingston Fossil Plant spilling some 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash sludge near the Emory River. TVA officials later said the spill does not threaten water in the Tennessee River, which is fed in part by the Emory River. On Jan 2 federal data showed arsenic levels over 100 times the acceptable amount in the Emory River. In February the TVA estimated cleanup costs of up to $825 million. In May the estimate for cleanup was raised to $975 million. In 2010 state regulators hit the TVA with penalties totaling $11.5 million for the coal ash spill. The sludge was shipped to a landfill outside Uniontown, Alabama. (SFC, 12/25/08, p.A6)(WSJ, 12/26/08, p.A2)(SFC, 12/27/08, p.A2)(SFC, 1/3/09, p.A3)(WSJ, 2/13/09, p.A1)(SFC, 5/2/09, p.A4)(SFC, 6/15/10, p.A4)(Econ, 12/4/10, p.44)
  • 2009, Jan. 20;Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States
  • 2009, Feb 14; In Alabama suspicious fires destroyed 2 churches and damaged a third near the Georgia border. (SFC, 2/18/09, p.A6)
  • 2009, Apr 29: The WHO raised its alert for swine flu from level 4 to level 5, its 2nd highest alert level. Austria and Germany confirmed cases of swine flu, becoming the third and fourth European countries hit by the disease. US health officials reported that a 23-month-old child in Texas has died from the disease. The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting to consider its pandemic alert level. (AP, 4/29/09)(SFC, 4/30/09, p.A8)


2010 - 2019


  • 2010,        Apr 24; In Mississippi a devastating tornado sliced through the state killing 10 people including 3 children. Tornadoes also were reported in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama with 2 deaths in Alabama.    (AP, 4/25/10)(AP, 4/26/10)
  • 2011,        Apr 16; Vicious storms and howling winds smacked the deep South, killing at least 7 people in Alabama including three family members whose homes were tossed into nearby woods. Combined with earlier reported fatalities in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the confirmed death toll over 3 days rose to 16.    (AP, 4/16/11)
  • 2011,        Apr 17, ; A furious storm system that kicked up tornadoes, flash floods and hail as big as softballs has left at least 45 people dead on a rampage that stretched for days as it barreled from Oklahoma to North Carolina and Virginia. 11 people were confirmed dead in Bertie County, NC, bringing the state's death toll to at least 18 people. Authorities have said 7 died in Arkansas; 7 in Alabama; 2 in Oklahoma; one in Mississippi and at least 5 in Virginia.    (AP, 4/17/11)(AP, 4/18/11)
  • 2011,       Apr 27; Dozens of tornadoes spawned by a powerful storm system wiped out neighborhoods across a wide swath of the South, killing at least 350 people in the deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years. Alabama had 254 deaths, 34 in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 15 in Georgia, 8 in Arkansas, 5 in Virginia and one in Kentucky.    (AP, 4/28/11)(AP, 4/29/11)(AFP, 4/30/11)
  • 2011,       Apr 28; Pres. Obama declared a major disaster in Alabama. Declarations for Mississippi followed on Apr 29,  Georgia on Apr 30, and soon followed for Tennessee and Arkansas.    (Econ, 5/7/11, p.28)
  • 2011,       Oct 5; Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth (89), a dynamic leader of the civil rights movement, died in Birmingham, Alabama.    (SFC, 10/6/11, p.A7)(Econ, 10/15/11, p.100)
  • 2011,       Oct 20; Alabama executed Christopher Johnson (38) by lethal injection for the 2005 murder of his infant son.    (SFC, 10/21/11, p.A7)
  • 2012,       Jul 2; Europe’s Airbus said it would open its first jet assembly line in America in Mobile, Alabama.    (Econ, 7/7/12, p.63)
  • 2012,       Sep 24; A federal appeals court reversed itself ruling that the US Army Corps of Engineers is not liable for devastation caused in Hurricane Katrina from a government-built navigation canal. The same court had ruled in March that the government was liable for some of the flooding, affirming a 2009 ruling.    (SFC, 9/26/12, p.A5)
  • 2012,       Nov 23; In Alabama Michael Jansen shot and killed a sheriff's deputy and critically wounded another when they went to his home near Fairhope on a report that he was acting aggressively toward family members. Jansen was also killed in the exchange of gunfire.    (AP, 11/25/12)
  • 2013,       Apr 4; Alabama lawmakers voted to allow posthumous pardons to the Scottsboro Boys, 9 black teens who were wrongly convicted of raping two white women over 80 years ago.    (SFC, 4/5/13, p.A5)
  • 2013,       May 24; Pres. Obama signed legislation awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to the 4 girls killed in the Sep 15, 1963, Alabama church bombing.    (SFC, 5/25/13, p.A6)
  • 2013,       Nov 15; In Alabama the Southern Museum of Flight opened in Birmingham. It featured prints of artworks that were only displayed at CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia.    (SFC, 11/29/13, p.A15)
  • 2014,       Jan 29; A rare winter storm gripped the US South, killing five people in Alabama, stranding children overnight at their schools, gnarling traffic across many states and canceling flights at the world's busiest airport.    (Reuters, 1/29/14)
  • 2014,       Oct 20; Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was arrested on felony ethics charges after being indicted by a grand jury of 23 charges accusing him of misusing his speaker’s office and previous post as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.    (SFC, 10/21/14, p.A6)
  • 2017,    Oct 8; Tropical Storm Nate rapidly weakened to become a tropical depression over Alabama, although the fast-moving former hurricane left roads and buildings flooded in Mississippi after coming ashore there. Nate killed at least 30 people in Central America before entering the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.    (AFP, 10/8/17)
  • 2017,    Oct 19; Swedish steel production company SSAB Americas said it is moving its Unites States division headquarters from Lisle, Illinois, to Mobile, Alabama. The move will unfold over the course of next year. The company has operated a mill north of Mobile in Axis since 2001.    (AP, 10/20/17)
  • 2018,    Jan 11; Alabama landed a coveted $1.6 billion joint venture plant by Japanese car giants Toyota and Mazda that will eventually employ 4,000 people. (AP, 1/11/18)
  • 2019,    Mar 3; A tornado registering EF4 hit southeastern Alabama killing 23 people. At least 18 tornadoes struck in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.    (SFC, 3/4/19, p.A6)(SFC, 3/6/19, p.A6)
  • 2019,    Apr 18; In the southern US strong storm system left three people dead in Mississippi and one person in Alabama.    (SFC, 4/20/19, p.A4)
  • 2019,    May 13; Alabama Public Television chose not to air the PBS children's show "Arthur" because it showed Arthur attending the wedding of his teacher with a same-sex partner.    (SFC, 5/22/19, p.A4)
  • 2019,    Oct 3; US scientists said more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of what’s being called a “flash drought" that’s cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires. The weekly US Drought Monitor report showed extreme drought conditions in parts of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle.    (AP, 10/3/19)
  • 2019,    Nov 27; The Alabama Supreme Court upheld a 2017 state law barring cities from moving or altering Confederate monuments.    (SFC, 11/28/19, p.A7)
  • 2019,    Dec 16; Three people were confirmed dead, two in Alabama and one in Louisiana, and a dozen more injured as a powerful storm front packing suspected tornadoes smashed into buildings, downed trees and left a trail of destruction around the Deep South. A 4th person died the following day following flooding in Kentucky. (AP, 12/16/19)(SFC, 12/18/19, p.A9)


2020 - 2020


  • 2020,        Jan 10; Cryptocurrency expert Virgil Griffith (36), charged with violating economic sanctions against North Korea, was released on $1 million bond despite federal prosecutors' concerns he might flee the United States before trial. Griffith was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring at his parents' home outside Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is known for creating WikiScanner, a tool that aimed to unmask people who anonymously edited entries in Wikipedia.    (AP, 1/10/20)
  • 2020,        Jan 27; In Alabama a fire consumed at least 35 vessels docked along the Tennessee River early today. At least eight people were killed.    (AP, 1/27/20)(SFC, 1/28/20, p.A8)

For more information about The History of Alabama, visit the following sites:

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Gadsden, AL Weather Information

Monthly average highs and low temperatures and the average amount of precipitation for Gadsden, AL.
Data from Gadsden Weather station, 1.58 miles from Gadsden.

Month Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Annual
Avg. High 50.6 ° 55.9 ° 64.9 ° 73.3 ° 80.6 ° 87.1 ° 90.5 ° 89.6 ° 83.9 ° 74.2 ° 63.5 ° 54.3 ° 72.4 °
Avg. Low 29.9 ° 32.3 ° 39.5 ° 47.2 ° 56.2 ° 64.4 ° 69.0 ° 68.1 ° 62.2 ° 49.3 ° 40.1 ° 32.6 ° 49.2 °
Mean 40.3 ° 44.1 ° 52.2 ° 60.3 ° 68.4 ° 75.8 ° 79.8 ° 78.9 ° 73.1 ° 61.8 ° 51.8 ° 43.5 ° 60.8 °
Avg. Prec. 5.85 in 4.91 in 6.55 in 5.21 in 4.59 in 4.34 in 4.47 in 3.65 in 4.13 in 2.95 in 4.56 in 4.89 in 56.10 in


The climate in Gadsden, AL warm and humid during summer with mean temperatures in the high 70's and cold during winter with mean temperatures tending to be in the low 40's.

The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 90.50 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 29.90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation at Gadsden is 56.10 Inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is March with an average rainfall of 6.55 Inches.

Climate Classification:

The climate in Gadsden, AL, is classified as humid subtropical climate (Cfa) by the Köppen-Geiger system.

Humid subtropical climate; coldest month averaging above 0 °C (32 °F) (or −3 °C (27 °F)), at least one month's average temperature above 22 °C (71.6 °F), and at least four months averaging above 10 °C (50 °F). No significant precipitation difference between seasons (neither abovementioned set of conditions fulfilled). No dry months in the summer. [Ref]

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Historical Weather data

AL Notable Severe Weather Events

“Precipitation amounts and patterns in Alabama are affected to a large degree by the Gulf of Mexico and the Appalachian Mountains. Annual precipitation averages about 55 inches statewide and ranges from about 50 inches in central and west-central Alabama to about 65 inches near the Gulf of Mexico. Seasonal rainfall patterns result in more than one-half of the average rainfall between December and May except on the gulf coast. Hurricanes, which usually enter the State along the coast, can produce torrential rainfall and have caused disastrous floods.”

“Floods in Alabama have been associated with a variety of weather disturbances and have affected many areas. Although Hurricane Frederic in September 1979 affected a relatively small area, it caused by far the greatest historical property damage about $2 billion. The most destructive flood resulting from a frontal system was March April, 1979: estimated damage was about $75 million.”

“Before 1986, drought conditions during 1954-55 that occurred during the sustained drought of 1950-63 were the most severe of record. The drought of 1984 88 was characterized by severe rainfall deficiencies. During those years, cumulative rainfall deficits in some areas were more than 50 inches, or the equivalent of 1 year's rainfall.”[9]

For more information about the climate:


Drought Severity Classification


Category Description Possible Impacts Palmer Drought Index CPC Soil
Moisture Model
USGS Weekly Streamflow
Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) Objective Short and Long-term Drought Indicator Blends (Percentiles)
D0 Abnormally
Going into drought: short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures. Coming out of drought: some lingering water deficits;  pastures or crops not fully recovered -1.0 to -1.9 21-30 21-30F -0.5 to -0.7 21-30
D1 Moderate Drought Some damage to crops, pastures; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent; voluntary water-use restrictions requested -2.0 to -2.9 11-20 11-20 -0.8 to -1.2 11-20
D2 Severe
Crop or pasture losses likely;  water shortages common; water restrictions imposed -3.0 to -3.9 6-10 6-10 -1.3 to -1.5 6-10
D3 Extreme Drought Major crop/pasture losses;  widespread water shortages or restrictions -4.0 to -4.9 3-5 3-5 -1.6 to -1.9 3-5
D4 Exceptional Drought Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies -5.0 or less 0-2 0-2 -2.0 or less 0-2

Alabama has had five major droughts since recordkeeping began -- 1929-32, 1938-45, 1950-63, 1980-82, and 1984-88. A network of 20 long-term gaging stations was used to define the areal extent and recurrence interval of the droughts. Six of these gaging stations, which had record lengths ranging from 50 to 65 years, were selected to show the intensity and duration of droughts.

  • 1929-1932 - The drought of 1929-32 had a recurrence interval greater than 25 years in the Mulberry Fork basin in other river basins in east-central Alabama, the recurrence interval was 10-25 years. In the Flint River basin of the Tennessee River Valley area, the drought had a recurrence interval of 25 years.
  • 1938-1945 - The drought of 1938-45 was statewide but was most severe in the northeastern part of the State, where recurrence intervals were greater than 25 years. Runoff during 1941 averaged about 50 percent of the annual average for gaging stations in the Mulberry Fork and Flint River basins. In the rest of the State, the drought had a recurrence interval of 10-25 years.
  • 1950-1963 - Included in the sustained drought of 1950-63 was a severe drought during 1954-55. In terms of areal coverage and severity, 1954 is the most extreme drought year on record in Alabama. The annual-departure graphs show a generally negative departure from 1950 to 1955. Runoff during 1954 averaged about 50 percent of the annual average of 21 inches for the four gaging stations in the Mobile River basin. In southern Alabama, precipitation for 1954 was less than average each month, and the annual total of 34.4 inches was the smallest in 71 years of record (U.S. Weather Bureau, 1955). The drought of 1950-63 had a recurrence interval of 44-60 years for gaging stations in the Mobile River basin. In the Flint River basin (fig. 4, site 6) of northern Alabama, the drought had a recurrence interval of 27 years.
  • 1980-1982 - Statewide, an extended period of greater than average rainfall began about 1970, lasted about 10 years, and produced a steady upward trend in the annual-departure graphs. Rainfall again became deficient in 1980, however, and in 1981 the rainfall deficiency across the State ranged from 5 to 14 inches. The drought of 1980-82 affected most of Alabama and had recurrence intervals of 10-25 years. Greater than average rainfall during 1983 resulted in recoveries in stream flow at the six gaging stations until about mid-1984.
  • 1984-1988 - Beginning in mid-1984, all gaging stations in Alabama show significant negative annual departures some continuing through 1988. The drought of 1984-88 affected the entire state to some degree but was most significant in the eastern half. Recurrence intervals ranged from 30 to 50 years in eastern Alabama to 10 to 25 years north of this area. The recurrence interval for a narrow area in west-central Alabama and most of the Conecuh River basin in southern Alabama was 10-25 years. Maximum rainfall deficiencies in east-central Alabama ranged from 21.1 to 25.3 inches during 1986 (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1986). Similar unofficial rainfall deficiencies were reported for 1987. Emergency water measures and restricted reservoir releases were implemented. During the most intense period of the drought, August 1988, daily water supplies were being transported to 15 communities in east-central Alabama. Crop losses during 1986 are reported to have been about $500 million (John Trotman, U.S. Department of Agriculture, oral communication., 1986).

For more information:


Between 1950 and 2014 there were a total of 1972 tornados in Alabama, killing 718 people and injuring 9,234. Of the 1,029 tornados, 35 where classed as F4 and 9 as F5.

Enhanced Fujita Scale


The following statistics where compiled from "The Tornado Project" for the time period of 1950-04-18 - 2014-11-23.

Intensity Number Fatalities
F0 618 1
F1 752 16
F2 415 31
F3 136 85
F4 35 281
F5 9 304


  • 1908, April 24-26; violent tornadoes moved through parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, killing 324 people and injuring 1,652 others. The worst damage took place in Amite, La., where 29 people died.
  • 1924, April 30; The April 1924 tornado outbreak affected Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia. The most severe damage during this outbreak was seen in parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia on April 30. A tornado, estimated as an F2, damage the town of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and killed one. A F4 passed through Macon, Georgia, sweeping away a few homes, damaging an industrial area, and killing 3. At 1:30 pm, an F3 struck south of Pine Mountain, in Harris County, GA, killing 10. There were 13 fatalities across Alabama caused by this tornado outbreak. During the 3 day outbreak there were a total of 110 deaths and 1,133 injuries in the affected states. Seven were killed at school in Horrell Hill, South Carolina.[Ref]
  • 1932, March 21-22; a total of 330 people died as a result of tornadoes that touched down across northern Alabama. One tornado hit the northeast part of the state, killing 38 and injuring 500.
  • 1936, April 5-6; The 1936 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak affected Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. There were at least 17 tornadoes, an F5 hit Tupelo, MS, killing 233 and a F4 hitting Gainesville, GA., killing 203. More than 436 people lost their lives during this outbreak.
  • 1952, March 21-22; The March 1952 Southern United States tornado outbreak affected Southern United States, including Arkansas (122 deaths), Tennessee (67 deaths), Missouri (17 deaths), Mississippi (9 deaths), Kentucky, and Alabama (4 deaths). The tornado passed through the business district of Judsonia, AR, Killing 30. In the town, 385 homes were destroyed and 560 exhibited damage. This tornado outbreak killed 209 people.
  • 1956, April 14 - 15; The 1956 McDonald Chapel tornado took place during the afternoon of April 15, 1956, across the Greater Birmingham area in Jefferson County, with damaged most severe in McDonald Chapel, northeast of the Birmingham. Retroactively rated an F4 on the Fujita scale, which was not invented until 1971, the tornado killed 25 people and injured 200 others. The Total damage in the Pleasant Grove area reached $1.5 million. On April 14, there were F1 tornadoes in Michigan (one), Kansas (one) and Texas (one). On April 15, a F2 tornado tracked from Dallas to Cumming, Georgia, damaging about 25 homes.[Ref]
  • 1960, May 4-6; The May 1960 tornado outbreak sequence affected the southeast High Plains, the southern Ozarks, and parts of the Midwestern and Southern United States. There were 71 confirmed tornadoes across 10 states. On May 5, a F5 was traveled 71.8 miles from north of Tecumseh to south of Oakhurst, Oklahoma killing 5. This outbreak affected Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Mississippi.[Ref]
  • 1974; The most prolific tornado outbreak of the 20th century was the Super Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974. During a 16-hour period, 148 tornadoes occurred from Illinois and Indiana into Michigan and Ohio southward through the Tennessee Valley into Mississippi and Alabama. This outbreak produced the largest number of tornadoes, with 30 causing F4 damage or worse. On one occasion, as many as five large tornadoes were on the ground at one time. The most famous tornado from this outbreak was an F5 tornado that moved through Xenia, Ohio. Damages in Xenia alone totaled over $100 million. The outbreak killed 315 people and resulted in 6,142 injuries.
  • 1975, January 10; The Great Storm of 1975 (also known as the Super Bowl Blizzard, Minnesota's Storm of the Century, or the Tornado Outbreak of January, 1975) was an intense storm system that impacted a large portion of the Central and Southeast United States from January 9 to January 12, 1975. The storm produced 45 tornadoes in the Southeast U.S. resulting in 12 fatalities, while later dropping over 2 feet (61 cm) of snow and killing 58 people in the Midwest. This storm remains one of the worst blizzards to ever strike parts of the Midwest, as well as one of the largest January tornado outbreaks on record in the United States A total of 7 tornadoes struck Mississippi on January 10, 1975. An F4 tornado moving from southwest of McComb, MS, to southwest of Pinola, MS, caused 9 deaths and 210 injuries. Tornadoes also struck Alabama (1 death), Arkansas, Florida (1 death), Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana (1 death), North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas. [13]
  • 1979, April 10-11; The 1979 Red River Valley tornado outbreak affected Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Nebraska, `Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Alabama. Fifty nine tornadoes touched down dyring this outbreak including two F2s and killing 58. On April 10, 1979 (known locally as "Terrible Tuesday") a F4 touched down in Wichita Fall, TX, killing 42 and injuring 1,800. The tornado left 20,000 people homeles. The 1979 Red River Valley tornado outbreak affected Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Nebraska, `Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Alabama. Fifty nine tornadoes touched down during this outbreak including two F2s and killing 58. On April 10, 1979 (known locally as "Terrible Tuesday") a F4 touched down in Wichita Fall, TX, killing 42 and injuring 1,800. The tornado left 20,000 people homeless. Source -,_Texas#1979_tornado
  • 1992, Nov. 21-23; The November 1992 tornado outbreak struck large parts of the eastern and Midwestern. The storm spawned 95 tornadoes, 6 of them F4s, 13 of these tornadoes occured in Alabama. There were 26 fatalities and 641 injuries in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. There were 12 fatalities and 122 Injuries on Nov. 21, when devastating, long-tracked (128 miles), violent F4 tornado began near Hopewell, MS, and moved northeast and ending west of Sherwood. [Ref][S-2]
  • 1994, March 27; Palm Sunday, 22 people died in Goshen, AL, after a tornado hit a church.
  • 1996, April 19-22; The April 1996 Tornado Outbreak Sequence affected Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ontario, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, Quebec and Arkansas. There were 117 confirmed tornadoes with 11 F3s and six people were killed. In Arkansas there 2 deaths, 8 homes and a mobile home destroyed and a church was also damaged. Six people were injured. In the Ft. Smith, Oklahoma, area 2 people were killed, 498 homes were destroyed while 620 had major damage and 1,275 had minor damage, 98 businesses were damaged or destroyed and 246 apartment units were damaged and 89 people were injured.
  • January 17-22, 1999; The January 1999 tornado outbreak sequence affecting Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Texas and Alabama. There were 150 confirmed tornadoes, 11 F3s and 2 F4 with 17 fatalities, 8 in Arkansas and 9 in Tennessee. The Little Rock area was hit by and F3 and an F2 tornadoes, killing 3 people. The downtown area was devastated, with severe damage reported to over 235 buildings, many of which were destroyed and over 500 buildings sustained lesser damage.
  • 2001, November 23-24; The Arkansas-Mississippi-Alabama tornado outbreak affected Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia and Indiana. There were 69 confirmed tornadoes, 3 F4s. This outbreak was responsible for 13 deaths, 4 in Arkansas, 4 in Alabama and 5 in Mississippi.
  • 2005, November 15; The Mid-November 2005 outbreak affected Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. There were 50 confirmed tornadoes, 3 F3s and 1 F4. There was one fatality in Benton, Kentucky, area.
  • 2005, November 27-28; The Late-November 2005 tornado outbreak affected Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. There were 57 confirmed tornadoes, 2 F3s. The f3 that struck the Plumerville, Arkansas, area was the strongest tornado and it caused one fatality.
  • 2006, September 21-23; The Late-September 2006 tornado outbreak affected Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Michigan. There were 53 confirmed tornadoes, 1 F3 and 1 F4.
  • 2007, February 28 - March 1; The February-March 2007 Tornado Outbreak affected Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. There were 55 confirmed tornadoes, 3 EF3s and 3 EF4s with 19 fatalities. An EF4 struck the Enterprise, Alabama, high school killing 9 and injuring 50. One person was also killed in Millers Ferry, Alabama by an EF4. 1 person was killed in Caulfield, Missouri. In Georgia there was 1 Death and 4 Injuries in Reynolds, 2 Deaths and 11 Injuries in Americus and 6 Deaths 3 Injuries in the Newton area.
  • 2008, January 7-9; The January 2008 tornado outbreak sequence affected southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, northeast Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Kentucky. There were 85 confirmed tornadoes, including 8 EF3s. There were 4 fatalities.
  • 2008, February 5-6; The 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak affected Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana and Texas. There were 86 confirmed tornadoes, 5 EF3s and 5EF4s resulting in 57 fatalities.
  • 2008, March 14-15; The 2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. There were 45 confirmed tornadoes, with 3 EF3s. On Friday, March 14, 2008, an EF2 struck the downtown Atlanta Area, damaging the CNN Center, the Georgia World Congress Center the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena, Ritz Carlton, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Georgia-Pacific Building, SunTrust Tower, Equitable Building, Georgia State University and other downtown businesses. Fortunately only one death was caused by this tornado. On March 15, an EF3 hit in the Aragon, Georgia area, killing two.
  • 2009, February 10-11; The February 2009 tornado outbreak affected Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, Iowa, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. There were 15 confirmed tornadoes, one EF4. The EF4 struck SE of Grady, Oklahoma killing 8 people.
  • 2009, April 9-10; The April 2009 tornado outbreak affected Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. There were 85 confirmed tornadoes, 9 EF3s and 1 EF4. There were 5 deaths caused by this outbreak two in Tennessee and 3 in Arkansas. An EF3 tornado hit the Mena, Arkansas area killing three people; an EF4 tornado hit Murfreesboro, Tennessee killing two people.
  • 2010, April 22-24; The Tornado outbreak of April 22-25, originally starting in the High Plains on April 22, 2010 and continuing through the Southern Plains on April 23, and the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys on April 24. The most severe activity was on April 24, particularly in Mississippi. There were a total of 88 tornadoes, 56 EF0, 17 EF1, 9 EF2 4 EF3 and 2 EF4. On April 24, a tornado peaked at EF4 with maximum winds around 170 mph and a maximum width of 1.75 miles. On the south side of Yazoo City, several buildings, including a church and several businesses, were totally destroyed. In Mississippi, there were 10 fatalities and 131 injured. [Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 2010, April 30 - May 2; The Tornado outbreak of April 30 - May 2, 2010 tornado outbreak affected the Midwest, U.S. South, including Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. There were 60 confirmed tornadoes with 4 EF3s. Five people were killed from the tornadoes, three in Mississippi, one in Pocahontas, Tennessee and one in Scotland, Arkansas.[Ref]
  • 2010, May 10-13; The Tornado outbreak of May 10-13, 2010 affected Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas. There were 91 confirmed tornadoes, 4 EF3s and 2 EF4s. An EF4 in the Moore, Oklahoma, area, killed two and injured 49. Another EF4 in the Norman, Oklahoma, area killed one and injured 32.[Ref]
  • 2010, Dec, 31 - Jan. 1, 2011; The 2010 New Year's Eve tornado outbreak affected Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi. There were 36 confirmed tornadoes with 7 EF3s and 9 fatalities. An early morning EF-3 tornado touched down near Stilwell, Oklahoma, and lifted near Tontitown, Arkansas, killing 3 elderly people near Cincinnati, Arkansas. Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, took a direct hit from an EF-3 tornado, destroying 41 houses and damaging 118. Another EF-3 tornado killed 2 elderly women near Rolla, Missouri. An EF-1 tornado killed two women near Lecoma, Missouri. [Ref]
  • 2011, April 4-5; The April 2011 derecho and tornado outbreak affected Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland. "derecho" is Spanish: meaning straight. There were 46 confirmed tornadoes, 6 EF 2s. There were 9 fatalities. An EF2 in struck a mobile home near Eastman, Georgia, killing one and injuring two others.
  • 2011, April 25-28; The 2011 Super Outbreak affected the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States. It was the largest, costliest, and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks ever recorded. The 317 fatalities on April 27, was the highest number of tornado-related fatalities in the United States in a single day since the "Tri-State" outbreak on March 18, 1925 when at least 747 people were killed. The outbreak produced 15 violent (EF4-EF5) tornadoes all on April 27. During the four days, 348 people were killed as a result of the outbreak, which includes 324 tornado-related deaths across six states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia) and an additional 24 fatalities caused by other thunderstorm-related events such as straight-line winds, hail, flash flooding or lightning. The 2011 Super Outbreak affected Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. There were 334 confirmed tornadoes, 22 EF3s, 11 EF4s and 4 EF5s. There were 328 fatalities, 237 in Alabama, 6 in Arkansas, 14 in Georgia, 31 in Mississippi, 32 in Tennessee, and 4 in Virigina. There were 238 fatalities in Alabama, 32 in Tennessee, 31 in Mississippi, 14 in Georgia, 5 in Arkansas and 4 in Virginia. One of the longest-lived tornadoes on record, an EF5 traveled 132 mi (212 km) across northwest Alabama, devastating Hackleburg and other communities, killing 72 people. In total there were 324 deaths and over 3,200 injuries.[Ref]
  • 2011, May 21-26; The May 21-26, 2011 tornado outbreak was a six day event that affected Kansas, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado, California, Louisiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Alabama. There were 292 tornadoes, 178 fatalities, 1,629 injured and $3 billion in property damage. The state of Missouri was struck by 41 tornadoes, killing 158 statewide. On May 22, a large, devastating EF5, multiple-vortex tornado in excess of 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, tracked through Joplin, Missouri (see 2011 Joplin tornado), leaving behind catastrophic damage. Mainly the southern part of the city was affected, there were 158 fatalities, 1150 injured and 2.800 billion in damages.[Ref]. In addition to the 158 killed in Missouri, there were 5 killed in Arkansas, 3 in Kansas, 11 in Oklahoma and 1 in Minnesota.[Ref]
  • 2011, Nov 14-16; The tornado outbreak of November 14–16, 2011 was a relatively small but deadly tornado outbreak. The outbreak produced a total of 23 tornadoes, 6 EF0, 10 EF1 and 7 EF2. The outbreak affected Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. On March 16, an EF2 damaged dozens of homes and businesses in Auburn, Alabama. Damage was also reported on the Auburn University campus, where a veterinary school was damaged and two horses were fatally injured. The tornado crossed into Georgia where damage occurred to numerous homes, the Harris County School Complex, the county's 911 center, and several other structures. Three people were injured. Two deaths were caused by an EF2, east of Linwood, North Carolina and 3 deaths occurred south west of Rock Hill, South Carolina. [Ref]

For more information:

Hurricanes / Tropical cyclone


Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
Related classifications
Tropical storm Tropical depression
Rollover for details

  • 1926, September - Miami Hurricane - Category 4. The Miami Hurricane was an intense hurricane that devastated Miami, Florida in September of 1926. The storm also caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, and the Bahamas. After crossing over the state of Florida, the Hurricane made landfall near Mobile, Alabama as a Category 3 hurricane on September 20 before hooking westward along coastal Alabama and Mississippi, eventually dissipating on September 22 after moving inland over Louisiana.

  • 1969, August - Hurricane Camille - Category 5. Hurricane Camille made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the night of August 17, resulting in catastrophic damage. Camille was the only Atlantic hurricane with official winds reported to reach 190 mph (310 km/h) until Allen equaled that number in 1980. Camille caused extensive damage along U.S. Highway 90 in Alabama. 26,000 homes and over 1,000 businesses were wiped out completely across the state of Alabama.

  • 1975, September - Hurricane Eloise - Category 3. Hurricane Eloise made landfall midway between Fort Walton Beach and Panama City, Florida. The highest wind gust reported from an inland location in the United States from Eloise was 120 mph/104 knots at a location 5 miles (8.0 km) northwest of Ozark, Alabama.

  • 1979, August - Hurricane Frederic - Category 4. Hurricane Frederic made landfall on Dauphin Island, Alabama at 0300 (GMT) on September 13. The causeway linking Dauphin Island to the mainland was swept away in many areas. Sustained winds were estimated at 125 mph, making Frederic a strong Category 3 hurricane.

  • 1985, August - Hurricane Danny - Category 1. Hurricane Danny made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana, and spawned several destructive tornadoes in Alabama. The two most damaging tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Danny were the "Redstone Arsenal Tornado" and the "Jasper Tornado" that struck Huntsville and Jasper, Alabama. The Redstone tornado touched down at 2030 UTC near the Gold-Rithe area. The twister damaged trees and signs and flipped over two trailers. The tornado also damaged a runway at Marshall Space Flight Center.

  • 1988, September - Hurricane Florence - Category 1. Hurricane Florence made landfall in Louisiana. Brewton, Alabama reported a storm-wide peak rainfall total of 10.67 inches (271 mm). Despite the rainfall, no damage was reported in Alabama or Mississippi. In Mobile Bay in Alabama, one man died while attempting to secure his boat - the only direct fatality related to the hurricane.

  • 1989, September - Hurricane Georges - Category 4. The tropical cyclone made seven landfalls on its long track through the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico during September, becoming the second most destructive storm of the season. Georges killed 603 people, mainly on the island of Hispaniola, and caused nearly $6 billion (1998 US dollars, $7 billion 2006 USD) in damages, mostly in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

    Upon making landfall, Georges brought a strong storm surge peaking at 11.9 feet (3.6 m) in Fort Morgan, along with 25 foot (7.6 m) waves on top of it. While moving slowly through the state, it dropped torrential rainfall, peaking at 29.66 inches (75 cm) in Bay Minette. Outer squalls spawned tornadoes in the southeast portion of the state, though damage from them was minimal. Overall, damage in Alabama amounted to $125 million (1998 USD, $146 million 2006 USD). Freshwater flooding in Mobile resulted in one death, the only death in the United States.

  • 1997 - Hurricane Danny - Category 1. Hurricane Danny stalled near the mouth of Mobile Bay on July 19, then turned to the east, and made its final landfall near Mullet Point, Alabama later that day. Extreme amounts of rainfall were produced over Alabama. Dauphin Island had the highest amount of rainfall, 37.75 inches (959 mm) reported by the HPC. Dauphin Island Sea Lab recorded 36.71 inches (932 mm) of rain, but not all the rain may have recorded in the rain gauge at this location, so it is possible the rainfall may have been underestimated. Doppler weather radar estimates show that around 43 inches (1,090 mm) of rain fell off the coast of Dauphin Island. A storm surge of over 6.5 feet (1.98 m) occurred off of Highway 182, midway between Gulf Shores, and Fort Morgan, Alabama, in addition to the rainfall. Unusually, when the storm stalled off the coast of Alabama, prevailing northerly winds forced the water out of Mobile Bay, causing tides to be two feet (0.61 m) below normal.

  • 2002, September - Hurricane Isidore - Category 3. Isidore made landfall at Telchac Puerto in Yucatán as a major hurricane on September 22. Hurricane Isidore and later Hurricane Lili contributed to the shutdown of offshore oil and gas platforms. The effects of back-to-back storms resulted in the loss of production of 14.4 million barrels of oil and 88.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas. A storm surge of 8.3 feet (2.5 m) was measured at Rigoletes, Louisiana, and at Gulfport Harbor, Mississippi. Hurricane Isidore brought widespread heavy rainfall from the central Gulf coast into the Ohio Valley, with a maximum of 15.97 inches (406 mm) at Metarie, Louisiana. The flooding was responsible for moderate crop damage, with a total of $330 million in damage (2002 USD, $360 million 2006 USD). Isidore claimed five lives; four direct and one indirect. The indirect death was from a man that went into cardiac arrest in Mississippi, whereas the other four were drowning deaths.

  • 2004, September - Hurricane Ivan - Category 5. The heaviest damage as Ivan made landfall on the U.S. coastline was observed in Baldwin County in Alabama, where the storm's eye (and eye wall) made landfall. High surf and wind brought extensive damage to Orange Beach near the border with Florida. There, two five-story condominium buildings were undermined to the point of collapse by Ivan's storm surge of 14 feet (4.3 m). Both were made of steel-reinforced concrete. Debris gathered in piles along the storm tide, exacerbating the damage when the floodwaters crashed into homes sitting on pilings. Brewton, a community about 50 miles (80 km) inland, also suffered severe damage. In addition to the damage to the southern portions of the state, there was extensive damage to the state's electrical grid. At the height of the outages, Alabama Power reported 489,000 subscribers had lost electrical power - roughly half of their subscriber base. The city of Demopolis, over 100 miles (160 km) inland in west-central Alabama, endured wind gusts estimated at 90 mph (140 km/h), while Montgomery saw wind gusts in the 60 mph (97 km/h) to 70 mph (110 km/h) range at the height of the storm. Ivan caused 14.6 billion (2005 USD) dollars in damage and was directly responsible for the deaths of 91 people.

  • 2004, October - Tropical Storm Matthew was a weak tropical storm that made landfall in Louisiana. In Alabama, wind gusts peaked at 47 mph (75 km/h) at Dauphin Island. The storm produced light rainfall across the state, totaling to 2.74 inches (70 mm) at Grand Bay. In addition, Matthew produced tides of 1 to 3 feet (.3 to .9 m) above normal, causing minor to major beach erosion. The beach erosion, which typically would have been minor for a weak storm, was greater than expected due to the passage of Hurricane Ivan just weeks before. No major damage was reported in Alabama.

  • 2005, July; Hurricane Dennis, Category 4, was both the earliest major hurricane and the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever to form before August. The hurricane formed in the Gulf of Mexico on July 4, 2005 and dissipated on July 10, 2005. It affected Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and the Ohio Valley regions. The hurricane made landfall in the US at Santa Rosa Island, between Pensacola, Florida, and Navarre Beach, Florida, at 2:25 pm CDT (1925 UTC) on July 10. There were a total of 89 fatalities due to the storm, 14 in Florida and 1 in Georgia. In Alabama, a Major Disaster Declaration was declared on July 10, 2005 (DR-1593).[Ref]
  • 2005, August - Hurricane Katrina - Category 5. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and dissipated on August 31, 2005. Katrina moved westward making landfall in Florida at Hallandale Beach and Aventura on August 25. After crossing Florida, Katrina made its second landfall at 6:10 a.m. CDT on August 29 as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana. At landfall, hurricane-force winds extended outward 120 miles (190 km) from the center and the storm's central pressure was 920 mbar. After moving over southeastern Louisiana and Breton Sound, it made its third landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border with 120 mph (195 km/h) sustained winds, still at Category 3 intensity. In the US, there were 1,833 confirmed fatalities.

    Although Hurricane Katrina made landfall well to the west, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle were both affected by tropical-storm force winds and a storm surge varying from 12 to 16 ft (3-5 m) around Mobile Bay, with higher waves on top. Sustained winds of 67 mph (107 km/h) were recorded in Mobile, Alabama, and the storm surge there was approximately 12 feet (3.7 m). The surge caused significant flooding several miles inland along Mobile Bay. Four tornadoes were also reported in Alabama. Ships, oil rigs, boats and fishing piers were washed ashore along Mobile Bay: the cargo ship M/V Caribbean Clipper and many fishing boats were grounded at Bayou La Batre. In Alabama, a Major Disaster Declaration was declared on August 29, 2005 (DR-1605).

Greatest rainfall totals caused by a hurricane in Alabama.

Rank (Inch) Storm
1 37.75 inches Danny 1997
2 29.66 inches Georges 1998
3 22.63 inches Alberto 1994
4 19.42 inches Opal 1995
5 16.56 inches Unnamed 1987
6 16.09 inches Beryl 1988
7 13.20 inches Carmen 1974
8 12.80 inches Dennis 2005
9 12.23 inches Juan 1985
10 11.36 inches Allison 2001

For more information:


USGC - Flood Mark
  • 1886, Apr. - Highest stage on Alabama River at Montgomery since 1814. This flood primarily affected the Southwest portion of the state.
  • 1906, Sept. - Hurricane. Rain, 11 inches, primarily affecting the coastal portion of the state.
  • 1916, July - Hurricane. Maximum winds, 128 miles per hour. Record tide, 10.8 feet; rain, 19 inches. Damage, $3.5 million.
  • 1926, Sept. - Hurricane. Rain, 19 inches, primarily affecting the coastal portion of the state.
  • 1929, Mar. - Flood in the Southeast portion of the state caused $9 million in damages.
  • 1936 - Floods in the West portion of the state.
  • 1961, Feb. - Mar. - Record-breaking discharges and stages; record duration. Damage, $36 million.
  • 1969, Aug. - Hurricane Camille, primarily affecting the coastal portion of the state.
  • 1970, Mar. - Isolated in greater Birmingham area.
  • 1973, Mar. - Apr. - Covered about one-third of State.
  • 1979, Mar. - Apr. - Severe in Tombigbee River basin. Some peak discharges were twice that of 100-year recurrence interval. Damage, $75 million.
  • 1979, Sept. - Hurricane Frederic, primarily affecting the coastal portion of the state. Damage, $2 billion.

For more information:

Winter Storms[10]


Regional snowfall index (RSI)[Ref-1] [Ref-2]

Category RSI Value Description
1 1—2.999 Notable
2 3—5.99 Significant
3 6—9.99 Major
4 10—17.99 Crippling
5 18.0+ Extreme


  • 1886, Jan 6-11; The January 1886 Blizzard was caused by a strong extratropical cyclone which initially dropped southeast across Texas before strengthening while it moved through the South and East, near the Eastern Seaboard through New England. Across the Texas Panhandle, at least five die due to exposure on January 6. A mix of rain, sleet, and snow fell in Jasper, AL, on January 8 and 9. Savannah, GA, reported a light snowfall for the first time in six years. On January 8, Fort Macon, NC, registered winds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h) from the southwest. A significant chunk of arctic air from the north filtered down into the South in the wake of this system. Portions of North Carolina saw temperatures fall well below 0 °F (-18 °C) from Jan 11 through 14, with readings as low at -18 °F (-28 °C) in Wilkes County, NC, on Jan 12.[12]
  • 1950, Nov. 24 - 30; The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950 was a large extratropical cyclone that moved through the Eastern United States. The storm caused significant winds, heavy rains east of the Appalachians, and blizzard conditions along the western slopes of the mountain chain. The storm impacted 22 states, killing 353, injuring over 160, and creating US$66.7 million in damage (1950 dollars). All-time record lows for November were set at Asheville, NC, -5 °F (-21 °C), Wilmington, NC, 16 °F (-9 °C), Charleston, SC, (17°F), Greenville, SC, (11°F), Birmingham, AL. 5 °F (-15 °C), Mobile, AL, 22 °F (-6 °C) Montgomery, AL, 13 °F (-11 °C) Atlanta, GA, (-3°F), Columbus, GA, (10°F), Augusta, GA, (11°F), and Savannah, GA (15°F).[11]
  • 1993, March 12-13; A low pressure system strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico and move northeast. Known as the Storm of the Century, Boone, North Carolina, received 33 inches of snow. By the morning of March 13, a snow storm of record proportions blasted Alabama with more than a foot of snow in a band from Birmingham northeast to DeKalb and Cherokee Counties. Every square inch of the state received some measurable snowfall. The heavy snow along with 40 to 55 mph wind caused widespread power outages and brought most travel to a standstill. The final toll for Alabama included 14 deaths due to exposure, and an estimated $50+ million in damages. Emergency declared for Alabama on March 15, 1993 (EM-3096).[8]
  • 1994, January 16; Feb. 14; Due to Severe Storm, Freezing and Flooding a Major Disaster Declaration declared on March 3, 1994(DR-1013). Severe Storm, Freezing, Flooding. The counties affected were Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Marshall and Winston counties.
  • 1998, Dec. 23 - 29; Due to freezing rain and ice a Major Disaster Declaration declared on January 15, 1999 (DR-1261). The counties affected were Colbert, Cullman, Fayette, Franklin, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Morgan and Winston counties.
  • 2000, Jan. 22 - 29; Due to a winter storm a Major Disaster Declaration declared on February 18, 2000(DR-1317). The counties affected were Cherokee, DeKalb and Jackson counties.
  • 2007, Feb. 12-15; The February 2007 North America Winter Storm was a massive winter storm that began on Feb. 12, 2007 and lasted until on Feb. 14, producing heavy snowfalls across the Midwestern U.S. from Nebraska to Ohio and similar conditions across parts of the northeastern U.S., and into Canada and tornadoes across the southern US. Significant sleet and freezing rain fell across the southern Ohio Valley and affected portions of the east coast of the United States, including the cities of Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. The southern portion of the storm produced severe thunderstorms with numerous tornadoes reported. One tornado hit a subdivision of New Orleans. In total, this storm system was responsible for 37 deaths across 13 U.S. states and Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. On Tuesday, February 13, 2007, the storm produced 7 EF 0, 9 EF1 and 3 EF2 tornadoes affecting Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. NOAA classified the storm as a Category 3, “Major” storm.[Ref]
  • 2007, April 13-17; The Spring Nor'easter of 2007 was a nor'easter that affected mainly the eastern parts of North America. The combined effects of high winds, heavy rainfall, and high tides led to flooding, storm damages, power outages, and evacuations, and disrupted traffic and commerce and resulted min at least 13 fatalities. There were 36 confirmed tornadoes in the Southern States, 15 EF0, 16 EF1, 4 EF2 and 1 EF3 in Sumter County, SC. Tornadoes struck Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.[Ref]
  • 2010, Oct 23 - Nov 5; The October 2010 North American storm complex was a Extratropical cyclone, Blizzard and Tornado outbreak. The storm brought a major serial derecho stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, a widespread tornado outbreak across the Southeast United States and Midwest and a blizzard across portions of the Canadian Prairies and the Dakotas. The heaviest snow fell in St. Louis County, Minnesota where 9 inches (22.5 cm) of snow fell. The storm produced 69 tornadoes, 8 rated as EF2s. Tornadoes struck Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. No fatalities where reported.[Ref]
  • 2011, Jan 8 - 13; The January 8-13, 2011 North American Blizzard was a major nor'easter, winter storm, and a New England blizzard. The storm also affected the Southeastern regions of the United States. Jan 8 through Jan 10, the storm dropped snow and ice across Eastern Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Savoy, Massachusetts reported 40.5" of snow. Portions of Connecticut received 20 to 30" of snow.[Ref]
  • 2012, Dec. 17-22; The December 17-22, 2012 North American blizzard was a winter storm that affected the Midwestern and Eastern United States. The storm made landfall along the coast of the Pacific Northwest on Dec. 17, and moved across the Midwest. Numerous warnings and advisories were been posted by the National Weather Service for many states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin. More than 130,000 customers are without power across the affected area. There were several tornadoes as a result of the system. At least three barns were displaced due to the strong winds South of Delight, Arkansas. Hail measuring up to 1.25 in (3.2 cm) was recorded in Logan County, Arkansas. On Dec 19, an EF1 tornado touched down near Lavaca, Arkansas. On Dec 20, an EF1 tornado touchdown west of Sheridan, AR and another EF1 struck Mobile, AL. A EF0 also occurred in the Florida Panhandle region.[Ref1] [Ref2]
  • 2012, Dec 25-26; The December 25-28, 2012 North American storm complex was a massive Extratropical cyclone, Blizzard and Tornado outbreak across the southern and eastern United States. On Christmas Day 2012, 30 confirmed tornadoes occurred in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Two of the tornadoes were rated as EF3. On Dec 26, an EF1 tornado touchdown north of Beaufort, NC. This tornado outbreak occurred in conjunction with a much larger winter storm event that brought blizzard conditions to much of the interior United States. There were 16 fatalities as a result of the related blizzard, and thousands were without power.[Ref1]
  • 2014, Jan. 27-31; The January 2014 Gulf Coast winter storm was a winter storm that impacted the eastern and southeastern United States, as well as Mexico. Freezing rain and sleet were recorded in cites along the Gulf Coast including Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA, Mobile, AL and Tallahassee, FL. On Jan 27, warnings were issued for Atlanta'a south metro area, while the central region (from east to west) was placed under a winter weather advisory. At 3:38 AM, on Jan. 28, the winter storm warning was expanded northward. A tweet issued by the NWSFO in Peachtree City at 3:08 pm and repeated on the local news read: “Winter precip will make travel risky across GA midday Tues into Weds. Not a bad idea to stay off the roads if you're able!”. Many believed that the storm would not occur until midday and planned accordingly. The NWSFO was correct in its forecast, but the roads became slippery faster than anyone anticipated. Thinking they would have time to get home before the road condition deteriorated, many business and school systems planned to work a half day. The results was a higher than normal volume of traffic on the Atlanta roads and with the slippery conditions and hilly terrain in Atlanta, traffic stooped. Many people were not able to reach their homes and had to find shelter where they could. Coastal South Carolina got some of the freezing rain that closed bridges around Charleston, SC. The Outer Banks of North Carolina and the Tidewater region of southeastern Virginia received significant snows.[Ref]
  • 2014, Feb. 11-17; The North American winter storm of 2014, was a snow and ice storm that affected the American South and East Coast. Damage was estimated at $15 million+ and there were 22 fatalities. Four people died in traffic accidents in Texas due to ice, and in in Round Rock, TX on February 11, a single accident resulting from ice on a bridge affected 20 vehicles. Mississippi had two deaths attributed to the weather. Several tractor-trailers jackknifed on Interstate 65 in northeast Alabama.[Ref]

For more information:

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  1. Etowah County & Gadsden, Alabama - HISTORY - THE EARLY YEARS   [Online]
  2. Etowah County & Gadsden, Alabama   [Online]
  3. Alabama History Timeline   [Online]
  4. Alabama History Timeline: 10.000 BC to 1491   [Online]
  5. Native American History   [Online]
  6. Chronology of the War of 1812   [Online]
  7. Alabama Floods and Droughts; U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2375; National Water Summary 1988-89--Floods and Droughts   [Online]
  8. NOAA - Top 10 Weather Events in the 20th Century For Alabama   [Online]
  9. NATIONAL WATER SUMMARY 1988-89 / Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts   [Online - PDF]
  10. FEMA - Disaster Declarations for Alabama, Winter Stroms   [Online]
  11. Wikipedia: Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950   [Online]
  12. Wikipedia: January 1886 Blizzard   [Online]
  13. Great Storm of 1975 - Wikipedia  [Online]

Last Update: October 15, 2017

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