rain drops bounce out of a puddle on campus

Flooding: Turn Around Don’t Drown

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama is Feb. 5-9. Throughout the week, the University will share information that you can use to help you stay safe when severe weather strikes.

#DYK: Floods kill more people in the United States each year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning.

In Tuscaloosa, heavy rains can occur at any time of the year, especially when storm systems push in from the west and combine with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. While we might not experience winds from tropical systems that form in the Gulf, they can move inland and drop a significant amount of rain in this area.

Flash flooding can happen within minutes and is the most dangerous kind of flood. Flash flooding happens when rainfall exceeds the ground’s ability to absorb it, or enough water accumulates to cause creeks and streams to overflow in a short amount of time. During heavy rain, storm drains can become overwhelmed or clogged with debris flooding nearby roads and buildings

A Tuscaloosa Firefighter works to retrieve a car that was swept off the road during a flash flood in 2021. Photo courtesy of Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue.

When flash flooding is possible, the National Weather Service will issue a Flash Flood Watch. This means you should be alert to the possibility of flooding.

If flash flooding has been reported or is about to happen, the NWS will issue a Flash Flood Warning. This means you should take precautions and get to higher ground if you are in an area that regularly floods.

You can receive Flash Flood Watches and Warnings for Tuscaloosa County through the UA Safety app.

Never try to drive or walk through floodwaters. More than half of all flood-related deaths are from people who drove or walked into a flooded area. It only takes six inches of fast-moving water to knock an adult off their feet, and only a foot of moving water to carry off a small car. When water covers your path, remember Turn Around Don’t Drown.

Watch to learn more about staying safe during a flood