CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- Hurricane season is just over two months away and one local county is working to save lives if the next big storm hits southwest Florida and brings heavy storm surge.
Studies shows that storm surge is the part of a hurricane that kills the most people. Charlotte County is working to decrease that number of lives at risk and save lives one stop sign at a time.
It's Mother Nature on one of her worst days. Fast-moving water, driven by high winds equals putting water over land and not moving. It's called storm surge. We've seen it with hurricanes in the United States and most recently in Japan.
"We saw storm surge over 30 feet in Hurricane Katrina along the Mississippi coast line. that same type of storm surge is very likely along Florida's west coast someday," said Wayne Sallade, Director, Emergency Management, Charlotte County.
It's why color coded reflective, vinyl collars will be showing up on stop signs throughout Charlotte County. 10,000 of the life saving devices will be placed primarily along major roads.
Red areas are at most risk for storm surge while green areas will be less likely to see water from a storm.
"It takes all the guess work out of it. You don't have to think back, what is my elevation, how much are they saying is coming. we're telling you, its in your best interest to go," said Sallade.
Marking the zones comes after a study showed that more then 70 percent of Floridians have no understanding of their risk to storm surge. Local people believe the system will work.
"I think all the warning signs can give certainly help people in times of emergency, especially colors as opposed to something that you need to read," said Patricia Hall, who lives in Charlotte County.
"It makes the people aware of the areas that they should stay away from or get to. I think it's a good thing but you have to educate the people," said Frank Leonard, who lives in Charlotte County.
Sallade said the visual aspect of the collars will remind people day in and day out, what zone they're in. "Sending out a postcard or a letter or handing them a publication simply is not going to do the trick," said Sallade.
Out of the populated areas of Charlotte County, sixty percent will be coded with red and orange collars meaning residents and visitors will be at high risk for storm surge.