Alabama is the thirty-first largest state in the United States with 52,419 square miles of total area. 3.19% of the area is water, making Alabama twenty-third in the amount of surface water, also giving it the second largest inland waterway system in the United States. About three-fifths of the land area is a plain with a general downward slope towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
Alabama has coastline at the Gulf of Mexico, in the very southern edge of the state. Alabama ranges in elevation from sea level at "Mobile Bay" to over 1,800 feet in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast.
The highest point is "Mount Cheaha", at a height of 2,407 feet. Alabama's land has 22 million acres of forest or 67% of total land area.
The state is classified as subtropical Cfa under the Koppen Climate Classification. The normal annual temperature is 64 °F. Temperatures are often warmer in the southern part of the state because it is close to the Gulf of Mexico, while the northern parts of the state, mostly in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, tend to be slightly cooler. Most of the time, Alabama has very hot summers and mild winters with copious rain throughout the year. Alabama receives an average of 56 inches of rainfall annually and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in the southern part of the state.
Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the United States, with high temperatures averaging over 90 °F throughout the summer in some parts of the state. Alabama also gets many tropical storms and even hurricanes.
Areas of the state far away from the Gulf can still feel the effects of the storms, which often dump big amounts of rain as they move inland and weaken.
Alabama's agricultural outputs are poultry and eggs, cattle, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains (such as corn and sorghum), vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State", many reports say that Alabama is between eight and ten in national cotton making, with Texas, Georgia and Mississippi making up the top three.
Alabama's programs of higher education are 14 four-year public universities, two-year community colleges, and 17 private, undergraduate and graduate universities. In the state are two medical schools, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of South Alabama, two veterinary colleges, Auburn University and Tuskegee University, a dental school, University of Alabama, an optometry college, two pharmacy schools, Auburn University and Samford University, and five law schools, University of Alabama School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Miles Law School, and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Public, post-secondary education in Alabama is overseen by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to 16 doctor level programs.
Notable natives and residents
We know the craving for a shepherd's pie casserole can come on suddenly, and that means you want to have it fast. We took a few shortcuts when making this Satisfying Shepherd's Pie because we wanted to shave off some of the cooking time. That way, since you don't have to wait longer, you're more...well, satisfied.
Make it in advance or the day you are hankering for this classic, and you'll have a meal your family won't forget.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 (1.15-ounce) envelope onion soup mix
- 1 (18-ounce) jar beef gravy
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- 4 cups prepared mashed potatoes
- Paprika for sprinkling