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High Water Mark Sign Unveiled at Montgomery, Alabama

A High Water Mark Sign commemorating Montgomery, Alabama’s flood of record was unveiled during a ceremony at the Montgomery Riverfront at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11th.   The High Water Mark Sign shows the highest flood level reached on the Alabama River at Montgomery during the official NWS period of record which dates back to 1890. The highest flood level recorded at Montgomery during this period occurred on February 26, 1961, when the river crested 23 feet 1 inch above flood stage at 58.1 feet. A line on the High Water Mark Sign indicates the depth of the water at the Montgomery Riverfront during this flood.

To help raise awareness of flood risk, the NWS began a project in 2006 to install High Water Mark signs in prominent locations within communities that have experienced severe flooding. Local NWS offices coordinate with emergency management and other local officials to select the best locations for the signs. The U.S. Geological Survey is involved as well, providing historical data and aiding with the surveying of high water mark signs in their districts. 

High Water Mark Sign in Montgomery 
Montgomery High Water Sign Ceremony  Mike Stoudenmier of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) welcomed everyone to the presentation, and introduced Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the NWS Forecast Office in Birmingham. Jim explained the purpose for erecting the High Water Mark Sign. Following his introduction, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange thanked the many people involved in making the sign possible. These groups included the Montgomery EMA, the National Weather Service and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Montgomery. After the Mayor’s comments, Local Historian Mary Ann Neely provided personal recollections of the impact this flood had on the City ofMontgomery. Mayor Strange then ended with a few closing comments (Pictured, left)

Representatives present for the ceremony included Montgomery County EMA Director Steve Jones and Mike Stoudenmier, Bill Psinakis of the USGS in Montgomery, and Jim Stefkovich and Roger McNeil from the NWS in Birmingham.

Severe flooding has been a part of Montgomery’s history through the years. Despite this reality, some residents may not be fully aware of the flood potential in their area.   The High Water Mark Sign is a tool to remind and educate people about the flood risk they face at times from the Alabama River.

The NWS Birmingham Office would like to express our appreciation to those responsible for making this event possible. Special thanks go to Steve Jones and Mike Stoudenmier of the Montgomery County EMA, and Rick Treece and Scott Hedgecock of the United States Geological Survey in Montgomery.

High Water Mark Sign in Montgomery


Some Flood Facts and History for the Alabama River at Montgomery

  • Since 1960, flood stage has been reached or exceeded 42 times, or on average once every one and a quarter years
  • The river has exceeded: 50 feet 14 times, or once every 8 ½ years and 55 feet 4 times, or once every 30 years  
  • Peak time for flooding is normally late winter or spring, but can occur any time of the year
  • Flood of record is 58.1 feet which occurred on February 26, 1961.   This followed several days of heavy rain in which portions of the Alabama River basin received as much as 16 to 18 inches of rain. The river was in flood for 17 days.
  • More recently, the river reached a stage of 54.85 feet in March of 1990.
  • Other major flood crests included 57.10 feet in December, 1919 - 56.9 feet in March, 1929 and 56.0 feet in November 1948.