(L - R) - WFO Birmingham Service Hydrologist Roger McNeil; USGS Data Chief Rick Treece; Dallas County EMA Director Rhonda Abbot; WFO Birmingham Meteorologist-in-Charge Jim Stefkovich; and, Selma Mayor George Patrick Evans (Photo: WFO Birmingham)
(Oct. 4, 2010) - National Weather Service representatives presented Selma, Ala. officials with a high water mark sign located in Selma's Bloch Park. The sign marks the March 1, 1961 flood of record when the water rose to 58.35 feet on the Alabama River at Selma, topping the flood stage by 13.4 feet. The unveiling ceremony was part of the Dallas County fourth annual Be Ready Day activities.
To help raise awareness of flood risk, the National Weather Service began a project to install high water mark signs in prominent locations within communities that have experienced severe flooding. Since the project began in 2006, more than 50 signs have been installed in a dozen states. The Bloch Park sign is the fourth for Alabama.
"Severe flooding has been a part of Selma's history through the years," said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Birmingham. "Despite this reality, some residents may not be fully aware of the flood potential in their area. The sign is a tool to remind and educate people about the flood risk they face at times from the Alabama River."
National Weather Service forecast offices coordinate with emergency management and other local officials to select the best locations for the signs. The U.S. Geological Survey is also involved, providing historical data and aiding with the surveying of high water mark signs in their districts.Following an introduction from Stefkovich, the sign was unveiled by Rhonda Abbot, director of the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency, and Roger McNeil, service hydrologist for the
Birmingham office. After the unveiling, Mayor Evans closed the ceremony, thanking everyone involved in making the sign possible. Some Flood Facts and History for the Alabama River at Selma:
- Since 1960, flood stage has been reached or exceeded 24 times
- The river has exceeded 50 feet eight times and 55 feet four times
- Peak time for flooding is late winter or spring, but can occur any time of the year
- The Alabama River Basin received up to 18 inches of rain prior to the 1961 flood
- Portions of the river remained in flood at Selma for 17 days
- The river reached a stage of 57.45 feet in March of 1990
- Other major flood crests included 56 feet in March of 1929, 56.2 feet in December of 1948 and 57 feet in April of 1886
In addition to Abbot, those responsible for making the event possible include Rick Treece and Scott Hedgecock of the United States Geological Survey and Tommy Smith and Ledell Tenner of Selma's Publics Work Department.