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The 53 miles (85 km) of coastline have occasional swamps and bayous, backed by timber growth on sandy soils and fronted by stretches of white sand beaches.
The warm climate of Alabama has nurtured a rich plant cover, including more than 100 tree varieties.
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.
Their waters are discharged into Mobile Bay through the Mobile and Tensaw rivers. In the far north the Tennessee valley contains dark loams and red clays that add vivid dashes of colour to the landscape when exposed.
Farther south lie the varied soils of a mineral belt, and these are succeeded by the rich limestone and marl soils of the Black Belt.