Many people learned a lesson last year when Hurricane Irene struck the south shore of Long Island. Unfortunately, many people didn’t (who are realizing this right about by now), and still more continue to be clueless about “touring flood areas” right after a major coastal storm strikes.

The date was August 28th, 2011, and I can still recall my south shore residential street being flooded from the marina down the block, to almost all the way up to Montauk Highway. The eye of the storm had passed, and the storm surge was gone, so it was time to venture outside to see the damage Irene left behind. Getting out of my driveway was not happening (water was half way to my garage) so on foot I went (with camera in hand) down to the corner. That’s when I saw something I simply couldn’t believe: A line of cars driving through 2-3 feet of water towards our harbor residential community. Some were in SUV’s…others were in compact cars…all wanting to get their first look over how bad the flooding was in our community. Mind you, there are power lines down everywhere in the area, with emergency crews trying to get live wires off the road.

So I’m standing on the corner watching these cars imitate air boats in the Everglades. Then, a sedan turns my corner and stops with four people in the car. The passenger rolls down the window and asks me, “Do you think we can get through the harbor?” I paused for a second, chuckled, and responded with, “I didn’t see what happened further down the harbor, but if you’re concerned about your car, don’t worry about that…it is already ruined. Go for it!” Naturally, the man gave me a “look”, rolled his window back up, and continued down towards the shoreline with his buddies.

Now some of you may be thinking I’m a bit of a snoot for saying what I said to the man in the car. Others will be laughing along with me knowing full well why the driver of that car was a complete idiot. Have you figured it out yet? For those that haven’t, it’s because the flood water they were driving through was loaded with salt…which thoroughly coated all the moving parts, floor boards, wheel wells, engine blocks, and anything else that resides underneath a motor vehicle. Take a guess as to where those cars are today? That’s right; they are either in a junk yard or in a used car lot. 🙂

Look as human beings, yes; we are all naturally curious at times…even if it means gazing over other peoples misfortunes. But when it comes to catastrophic events like hurricanes, please be considerate of others by keeping roads clear for emergency crews to do their jobs. Please keep this in mind after hurricane Sandy passes through our area over the next 36-72 hours. After all, is it really worth having to buy a car in a year when you are propelling it with foot power a la Fred Flintstone, just to see a puddle of water in a street?