What is flash flooding?

Flash flooding is when flooding occurs pretty quickly after an event like rainfall and goes away quickly.

So imagine this you are sitting in your car waiting on traffic on 280 and it starts raining. Well if you live somewhere like the Hoover area this could be a long wait. So you have been sitting there for about 30 minutes next thing you know the water around you starts rising. You look down and water starts coming in your vehicle.

Alabama Flash Flooding

Well what do you do?

You have to exit your vehicle to safety. So you get to the top of the vehicle. As you sit there and wait for help you think how did that happen so fast?

This is exactly what flash flooding is and how fast it can happen in the Birmingham area. This is normally what catches people by surprise.

People in the Vestavia and Pelham area experience this often when it rains.

These waters can rise very quickly and become very dangerous. So many people each year lose their lives to flash flooding because it happens so fast.

It can also be very destructive to properties. Just ask the residents of the Saint Louis area who just suffered some major property losses as a result of flash flooding.

So we have talked about what flash flooding is and if it is dangerous.

So is flash flooding in Alabama covered by flood insurance?

Let's look at what FEMA defines a flood as. According to FEMA a flood is when either 2 or more properties are inundated with water or 2 acres or more.

So in the situation we discussed about Saint Louis yes flood insurance should cover some things. However there are many situations where flash flooding doesn't meet this definition and coverage is not available.

So if you have further questions about flash flooding and flood insurance coverages in Alabama then make sure to visit our website.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or check out our podcast.


Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigate your property long term.


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Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

It has been almost 5 wonderful years since my wife and I adopted our beautiful daughter Lydia. This kid sure loves life as you can see below.

lydia 1

I wish my mom had lived to see her be born. For many years my mom watched our struggles as we tried to have children and when the day came she wasn't here to see it.


As parents we all want what's best for our children. We want to get them on the best sports teams, we want them to have the best teacher, and we want them in the best schools. Most importantly we want them to be happy even if that means we aren't in the drivers seat.


I know this story probably better than anybody. Growing up with a learning disability I watched my parents fight for me to have the best schools and resources.

Recently we were looking for homes in a certain area where the city, county, and school each charge their own tax. It made living in this particular area very expensive but the schools were also very good. I also think this tax may have also kept the enrollment level at the school at a manageable area.

Human hands holding model of dream house

These are some of the challenges good school systems face. You have an influx of people who move to an area to get their kids into a certain school system. This exact thing is happening in Franklin Tennessee and Madison Alabama.

Challenges written on desert road

It's also the same thing that happened in Shelby county Alabama the last 20 years. Shelby county was one of the fastest growing counties in the country for a long time. Maybe it should not be any surprise that Pelham, Helena, and Alabaster all struggle with flood prone areas.

Some areas are trying to find a way to manage this growth.

Madison Alabama has even looked at charging a one time fee for buying home in a certain area to help slow down some of the growth.

As we mentioned before when you have great schools in an area you have a lot of people that want to move to that area and many times that means building new housing to support that.

It's not unusual to drive through parts of Madison Alabama and Franklin Tennessee and see 6 different builders with signs on a corner.

So are these school systems and our best intentions as parents causing flooding?

Detail of a modern academic building

As crazy as it seems this could be one of the major factors in the increase of flooding in some of these areas. In a natural setting 90% of rainfall is consumed by the soil. However when this area is developed 90% of that rainfall now becomes runoff.

It has been proven that land development is a leading factor in flood maps changing and the risk of flooding increasing.

So you may ask why is my area getting flooded more often or more flood warnings at least?

Well this massive growth in these school systems can lead to quick land development leaving limited space for the water to go.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

Well it takes FEMA a while to catch up on doing flood insurance study reports. I mean some flood maps across the country were just updated for the first time in 50 years.

Even if your property is listed in a minimal risk zone or a flood zone x it is recommended that you carry flood insurance.


Almost 30% of flooding occurs in these areas and even regular flooding. Just ask the residents of Nathans Estates in Muscle Shoals Alabama who found their homes under water in 2019.

Want to find out where to obtain coverage and what the best coverage is for you?

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To find more information on flood insurance you can also visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.


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Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation