Hurricanes & Coastal
When you think of a tropical storm or hurricane, you tend to think of strong winds and rain. However, storm surges and large waves produced by these storm pose the greatest threat to life and property for coastal states. Thanks to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama is susceptible to coastal floods as well as inland flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms that continue to the interior of the state.
One of the worst hurricanes in Alabama’s history was also the costliest natural disaster and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States – Hurricane Katrina (category 5). Katrina made landfall hitting New Orleans and Mississippi on August 29, 2005. Though New Orleans and Mississippi were impacted the most, structural damage was heavy in coastal Alabama, and following the storm, 22 counties in Alabama were declared disaster areas for Federal assistance.
- Flooding by a storm tide of 14–18 feet, and tornadoes.
- Massive damage occurred along coastal areas, pushing small ships and oil rigs ashore, flooding fishing areas with dozens of shrimp boats, and destroying marinas and boardwalks.
- Damage was quite heavy in coastal Alabama (comparable to Hurricane Ivan in 2004), including significant structural damage to many buildings.
- Un-named (September 1906): Storm surge exceeded 10FT at Gulf Shores - Damage in Alabama: Estimated at nearly $3 million.
- Un-named (July 1916): Storm Surge 11.5FT -
Damage: $3.5 million in 1916 dollars
- Hurricane Camille (August 1969) – Category 5. Though coastal Alabama received a more glancing blow, it did see heavy flooding with the storm surge inundating 70% of Dauphin Island.
- Hurricane Ivan (September 2-24, 2004) – Category 5. The heaviest damage as Ivan made landfall on the U.S. coastline occurred in Baldwin County, Alabama. Damage: $18 billion