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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.Occasionally, large-scale outbreaks of multiple tornadoes have turned particularly deadly and destructive in the region, as they did in April 1974 and in April 2011.The warm climate of Alabama has nurtured a rich plant cover, including more than 100 tree varieties.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.
The northern half of the state lies in the southern range of the country that is most affected by tornadoes.
The soils along the coast of Alabama consist of sandy loams and deep porous sands.
The Alabama climate is temperate, with an average annual temperature of about 64 °F (18 °C), mellowed by altitude to some 60 °F (16 °C) in the northern counties and reaching 67 °F (19 °C) in the southern counties, although summer heat is often alleviated somewhat by the winds blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
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.