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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 Cumberland Plateau region drains to the northwest through the Tennessee River and the often deep valleys of its tributaries, with much water retained in large scenic lakes formed in the 1930s by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).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.Arcing into the heart of the lowlands of Alabama, the Black Belt has been distinctive because of its association with the cotton production that long dominated its rich soils—though little cotton is grown there now.Muscadine and scuppernong grapes and blackberries also flourish.Beardlike Spanish moss grows in the coastal woodlands. Bluebirds, cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, doves, woodpeckers, owls, hawks, yellow-shafted flickers (called yellowhammers in Alabama), and an occasional eagle are found here.The landscape of Alabama has been the scene of many of the major crises in the settlement of the continent and in the development of the country.

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