Although Alabama continues to reside in the lower segment nationally in many significant social and economic rankings, there has been improvement in some areas, particularly in ethnic relations, including the integration of schools and the election of African Americans to political offices.
The rest of the state is drained southward through broad valleys.
The Coosa and the Tallapoosa rivers join north of Montgomery to form the Alabama River, which meanders southwestward until it connects with the Tombigbee River, which drains the state’s western portion.
Most of the thick forests are in the north and northeast.
Pine trees predominate, and live oaks are also found statewide, adding character to the streets of the older towns and cities.
It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, and Mississippi to the west. The rich agricultural valley of the Tennessee River occupies the extreme northern part of the state.
The Florida panhandle blocks Alabama’s access to the Gulf of Mexico except in Alabama’s southwestern corner, where Mobile Bay is located. In northeastern Alabama the broken terrain of the southwestern fringe of the Appalachian Mountains begins and continues in a southwesterly progression across the northern half of the state.A small triangular portion of the Piedmont Plateau juts across from Georgia at an elevation averaging 1,000 feet (300 metres).The character of the state changes markedly as the rugged, forest-clad hills and ridges of the Appalachian extremities give way to the lower country of the coastal plain.In late summer and early fall, southern areas can be hit by strong tropical storms, including hurricanes as they sweep northward from the Gulf; Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005) were especially devastating to coastal areas.The northern half of the state lies in the southern range of the country that is most affected by tornadoes.The plain has a number of subdivisions: in the north lie the rolling Fall Line Hills, while farther south the pine and hardwood belts add irregularity to the flat landscapes.