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Top 10 Alabama Cities at Risk of Flooding

From the mountains in the north to the Gulf Coast, we live in a beautiful state. Unfortunately, Alabama gets visits from tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. That’s why we need to protect our homes from flooding.

In this article, we rank the top cities in our state at risk of flooding, provide insight on insurance coverage, and let you know what to do now to protect your home. 

illustration top cities in alabama at serious risk of flooding

Alabama Cities with the Highest Flood Risk

The 2020 First National Flood Risk Assessment (FNFRA) estimated that 334,900 properties are at substantial risk of flooding in Alabama. This is considerably above the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps that identify 187,900 properties at risk. 

The FNFRA assessment takes into account areas that FEMA hasn’t yet mapped, adds precipitation as a separate risk, and includes current climate data. The FNFRA study also identifies 439,300 properties at risk over the next 30 years. This includes 94,000 properties with a 99% chance of flooding at least once during that time.

Here are the top 10 cities showing total properties at risk, along with the percentage of total properties.

#City/TownTotal Properties at Risk / % of Total Properties
1.Mobile24,070 – 29%
2.Birmingham16,932 – 17%
3.Huntsville13,213 – 16%
4.Decatur8,242 – 34%
5.Montgomery  7,936 – 10%
6.Selma7,366 – 73%
7.Gadsden6,405 – 26%
8.Gulf Shores4,135 – 43%
9.Tuscaloosa3,780 – 11%
10.Scottsboro3,735 – 42%

Our Hometowns’ Flooding Risks

flooding basement

Digging deeper into the FNFRA assessment, we’ve provided further insight into the locations in Alabama where we have offices. They rank first through third, and a fifth thrown in for good measure!

Looking at Mobile, a broader review taken in all of Mobile County shows 38,977 properties at risk of flooding in the FNFRA assessment. That’s 80% higher than the 21,703 properties shown in the FEMA listing.

Birmingham, ranking number two above, has seven counties in the greater metropolitan area: Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker. The total number of properties at risk of flooding is 65,599 in the FNFRA assessment, compared to 23,178 in the FEMA maps, an increase of 183%.

Huntsville encompasses Madison, Limestone, and Morgan counties. The number of properties at risk of flooding across all three counties is 29,160 in the FNFRA assessment, nearly double the number listed by FEMA, which is 14,260.

The Montgomery metropolitan statistical area includes Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, and Montgomery counties. The FNFRA assessment identifies 17,404 properties at risk of flooding, while the FEMA listings show 12,961, or 34% fewer properties.

The Importance of Flood Insurance 

More than half a million (548,600) Alabama home and property owners have made FEMA flood damage insurance claims since 2000. The counties with the greatest number of claims were Baldwin, Conecuh, Jefferson, Madison, and Mobile.

FEMA estimates that just one inch of water in a 2,500-square-foot single-story home can cause $23,635 in damage to the home, along with $3,172 in damage to personal property. From this, you can tell that it makes sense to purchase flood insurance.

You’ll need to purchase separate flood insurance. Homeowner’s insurance covers damage only from internal sources of water, such as leaking or burst pipes. This type of insurance does not cover damage from external sources caused by rain, storms, or flooding. Learn more in our step-by-step guide to insurance claims.

Invest in Flooding Protection for Your Home

We’ve pulled together the following list to get you started on protecting your home, basement, or crawl space from serious water damage from flooding.

crew installing a basement sump pump
  • Make Sure Your Gutters and Downspouts Are Clear: Clear out any leaves and gunk that could impact the flow of water through your gutters and downspouts. In addition, make sure your landscape grading slopes away from your foundation. Downspout extensions, also positioned at a downward sloping angle, can help to move water away from your basement or crawl space.
  • Use Basement or Crawl Space Waterproofing: An internal drainage system with a sump pump and battery backup can prevent leaks before they become a serious flood.
  • Purchase and Install Flood Sensors: These sensors detect any rising water and provide an alert to help you take immediate action. You may be able to add these to your security system or use a separate smartphone app.
  • Add Backflow Valves: Drain pipes can back up due to flooding. Install backflow valves to prevent raw sewage from entering and contaminating your home.
  • Build with Flood-Resistant Drywall and Insulation: These materials are designed to minimize water damage and to make for easier cleanup after the flooding.
  • Elevate Utilities: Raise washing machines, dryers, and water heaters above the expected flooding levels. You can also move electrical wiring and outlets higher.
  • Store Valuables in Waterproof Containers: Whenever possible, store them on an upper floor or at least move them when flooding appears imminent. 

There’s nothing more valuable than your family. In case of flooding in your home, move to a higher floor or evacuate the premises if you’re in immediate danger from rising waters. 

AFS Can Help Prepare and Protect Your Home

Working through the list above is a good start toward preparing your home for flooding. We also recommend that you consult with our expert team at AFS Foundation and Waterproofing Specialists for a free inspection and repair estimate.

We’ll identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for heavy rains and flooding. We’ll also provide you with a no-obligation estimate for waterproofing solutions and other repairs customized to meet your home’s specific needs. Don’t let heavy rains and flooding steal your peace of mind. Contact us today to start protecting your home for good.

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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Huntsville, AL 35811

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Knoxville, TN 37914

Louisville KY

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Theodore, AL 36582

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