Alabama has it all. From the Gulf Coast to the mountains, it’s a beautiful state. However, from tropical storms to tornadoes and summer storms, it has rain—and lots of it. Here’s our ranking of the rainiest cities and towns.
In this article, we’ll look specifically at average annual rainfall followed by the top rainfall events over the past 10 years. We’ll also touch on what you can do to protect your home from rain damage.
Rainiest Cities and Towns in Alabama: Average Annual Rainfall
We’ve sifted through the rainfall information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Alabama for the highest average annual rainfall. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.
Rainiest Cities and Towns in Alabama: Heavy Rain Events
Average annual measures give you an idea of where you can expect a fair amount of rainfall every year. We’ve also reviewed NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information’s Storm Events Database. In the range of Nov. 30, 2010, to Nov. 30, 2020, they identified 37 locations affected by heavy rain events.
Here are the top 20 ranked by rainfall amount. All amounts shown are those registered over a 24-hour period. We’ve left out cities that registered several times on the list, showing only their highest total.
|1||Centerville, Cullman County, Dec. 25, 2015||10.8|
|2||Fairhope, Baldwin County, April 14, 2014||9.8|
|3||Capshaw, Limestone County, July 4, 2013||8.2|
|4||Hamilton, Marion County, Dec. 25, 2015||7.0|
|5||Grove Hill, Clarke County, Feb. 11, 2013||6.5|
|6||Silver Hill, Baldwin County, July 13, 2019||6.3|
|7||High Point, Dekalb County, Nov. 27, 2011||5.2|
|8||Cullman, Cullman County, Sept. 17, 2012||5.0|
|9||Hollytree, Jackson County, Sept. 17, 2012||4.9|
|10||Muscle Shoals, Colbert County, Sept. 17, 2012||4.7|
|11||Grand Bay, Mobile County, July 13, 2019||4.7|
|12||Spring Hill, Mobile County, April 2, 2017||4.5|
|13||Threet, Lauderdale County, Sept. 17, 2012||4.3|
|14||Hollytree, Jackson County, July 4, 2017||4.1|
|15||Foley, Baldwin County, July 13, 2019||4.0|
|16||Sylvania, Dekalb County, Nov. 27, 2011||3.8|
|17||Geneva, Geneva County, June 9, 2012||3.8|
|18||Fairview, Morgan County, Aug. 10, 2014||3.6|
|19||Geneva Airport, Geneva County, Feb. 19, 2012||3.4|
|20||Madison, Madison County, Oct. 28, 2020||2.8|
There are a few cities that get a special mention:
- Valley Head on April 28, 2014, with 2.1 inches of rain in 40 minutes and 0.5 inches in five minutes.
- Harvest on Sept. 2, 2012, with 4.3 inches of rain in 75 minutes.
- Wilson Dam on Aug. 23, 2019, with 1.1 inches in 15 minutes.
The one fatality noted in these records occurred April 28, 2014, in Rosedale when two individuals sought shelter from a tornado in their basement. The water caused a wall to collapse, killing one of them. From this, you can tell that heavy rains are not something to be taken lightly.
Rain in Our Hometowns
We’ve looked a little bit closer into the locations in Alabama where we have offices.
Birmingham’s average annual rainfall comes in at 53.2 inches. Mobile ranks 12th in average rainfall at 66.3 inches. Mobile County gets hit with lots of rain from tropical storms, ranked 11th and 12th on the listing above.
How to Protect Your Home from Rain
Looking over the list above, you can see that heavy rain can show up in Alabama almost any time of year. That’s why it’s important to protect your home from rain and to do so as soon as possible.
Here are our recommendations.
- Check your gutters and downspouts. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and sized adequately to carry the water that collects and runs off your roof. Repair any problems before the rain arrives.
- Have downspout extensions installed. Add extensions to the downspouts to route water well away from the foundation. You don’t want water collecting around your basement or crawl space.
- Landscape your yard properly. Grade the soil around your foundation so that it slopes away. Then when water runs off the roof and into gutters and downspouts, it will continue its journey away from your basement or crawl space.
- Think about the clay bowl effect’s impact. One big reason to move water away from the foundation is that the soil has a different drainage factor than the surrounding soil. This happens during excavation to install the basement or crawl space. The backfill soil is much looser than the undisturbed soil. This forms a bowl that collects water and moves it toward the foundation.
- Install proper waterproofing measures. First, fix any basement or crawl space cracks. Then install a drainage system and sump pump to collect and remove any leaks.
Rainwater can find its way into your basement or crawl space, whether it’s a gentle rain or one of the massive rainfalls we’ve listed above.
While the above listing is a good starting point, we recommend that you consult the professionals at AFS Foundation and Waterproofing Specialists for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for heavy rains.