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Overview of October 5-6 Flash Flooding and the City of Birmingham’s Response

The City of Birmingham is assessing the heavy rain events which prompted flash flooding throughout the Birmingham metro region both Tuesday and Wednesday. The city is committed to providing proactive steps before a potential flooding event as well as responding with services immediately during and after such events.

The Department of Communications (911/311) received 66 emergency calls during the most recent rain event Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

During the same time, the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service conducted 16 water rescues. One of the rescues included Birmingham Police. Two police officers pulled an elderly female from a vehicle that was completely submerged at 15th Avenue North, between 27th and 28th streets. When pulled from the water, BFRS personnel determined the female was not breathing and lacked a pulse. After conducting CPR, she was revived. She was taken to UAB, where she was alert and conscious.

Ahead of yesterday’s storm, the Department of Public Works cleared storm drains and inlets in more than 20 locations. DPW’s efforts are part of a regular maintenance routine to keep the storm water drainage system cleared and operating effectively. These efforts take place weekly regardless of the amount of rain forecasted. DPW is currently servicing areas affected by the flooding.

Any resident or business owner who received flood-related damage is urged to call 311 or email watershed@birminghamal.gov.

The Department of Planning, Engineering and Permits is currently investigating these rain events including any reported damage.

The city received four inches of rainfall on Tuesday, generating a five-to-ten year water runoff event that mostly affected western and southwestern parts of Birmingham. Wednesday’s rainfall amounts were similar to Tuesday, affecting all areas of the city including Roebuck, Ensley, Pratt City, Germania Park, Collegeville, Avondale, Woodlawn and more. Rain storms of this magnitude will cause out of creek bank flooding, storm sewer back-up, yard-based flooding and the flooding of internal structures if the floor of the structure is barely above ground elevation.

PEP will continue to document the impact of the flooding events including the number and location of properties affected. This work also includes assessing any issues with the drainage system. PEP will report these findings to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency in support of any request for disaster assistance.

The city is committed to efforts to address flood-prone areas. This includes new drainage improvements, which are part of upcoming capital projects, and completion of a three-year U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study to assess flood management.

Because of these long-term efforts, Birmingham ranks first in the state in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. The ranking creates discounted flood insurance for more than 1,000 flood policyholders.