BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Emergency agencies throughout Central Alabama are on high alert as the state prepares for strong winds and flash flooding possibilities. One area usually greatly impacted by flood waters is Tuscaloosa County.

Tamara Croom with Emergency Management says many people have misjudged flood waters in the past. She, along with all emergency agencies urge people to always turn around, don’t drown.

“You know, we don’t want you to be that person that goes viral because you decided to drive around a barricade and had to be rescued,” Croom said.

Croom would argue that flood waters present the most danger to everyone during a severe weather event. And it’s a problem felt throughout the state and entire country.

“They’ve led to $260 billion dollars in damages. And also, have cost an average of 86 deaths a year in the United States,” Croom said.

Some of the advice Croom shared with CBS 42 suggests that if a person is ever trapped in a vehicle or house from flood waters, they should go to the roof and wait for help. Melissa Sizemore with Jefferson County EMA says whenever people try to brave the elements and get caught in flood water leading to a water rescue, it can be straining on emergency crews and also put them in danger.

“You only have so many sets of resources. And when you have so many calls for help, that’s when things become problematic and when those different response agencies are going to have to pick up the phone and call us to find those resources,” Sizemore said.

As the state braces for another round, all EMA’s in the state urge everyone to be weather aware.

“Our goal is to make sure that people know what is going on,” Croom said.

If a person experiences weather damage during the next several days in Tuscaloosa County, Croom says report the damage to their website.