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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Superstorm Sandy Coming Ashore; Sandy Slams Connecticut; Superstorm Sandy Sustained Winds of 85MPH; Sandy Makes Landfall In New Jersey; Sandy Blasts New York City
Aired October 29, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we are live in Asbury Park. I'm here with Rob Marciano. What's an amazing situation here -- five minutes ago I was able to walk to the boardwalk which is about two blocks from where we are right now. It's now impossible to get over there. We are actually kind of seeking safety behind this SUV.
If you pan down, Neil, you can see the water has come, there's about six inches of water now about two blocks from the ocean. The water has just moved in here incredibly fast. It really has all happened in the last 30 minutes or so -- Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It really has. And you know, we really -- we thought maybe a few hours ago that it was speeding up, maybe we just -- it wouldn't be as bad as we thought. But certainly you have to believe that scenes like what we're seeing right now are happening up and down the Jersey shoreline, it's being inundated with the storm surge, crashing over the boardwalk. And this entire eastern half of the town is under water right now.
COOPER: Obviously we've lost power about an hour and 15 minutes ago but there are still a couple of streetlights here in Asbury but a lot of the buildings here, obviously they've all been evacuated. We're staying in a -- we're seeking safety in a hotel. They've just lost power. But again, this water is moving very fast -- covered with water.
Susan, if I can have the phone. We've just lost --
COOPER: Ali Velshi, who is in Atlantic City for us.
Ali, what is the situation there?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty bad earlier. The rain lightened up a little bit. It got much, much colder. Virtually no wind here but I am now standing at a major intersection in downtown Atlantic City and the water is up to my knees. It's coming up very quickly here, as it is for you. This city is under an absolute curfew right now.
Everybody's supposed to be in until about an hour ago. We saw emergency vehicles and police going through the city to make sure nobody's out walking around. I just actually did see a few people who didn't seem to be working who were walking around town, but generally speaking, everybody's off.
It does not feel like the hurricane that it felt like a few hours ago, with very heavy winds gusting above 90 miles an hour, sustained probably in the 50 mile an hour range. There's virtually no wind. The rain has started back so we may be getting the other side of the storm now just beginning. It's starting to get heavier but the flooding is serious here. We are standing about six and a half feet above sea level and the water is now to my knees.
So we're expecting a surge here in the range of about 9 1/2 feet. It definitely looks like it's happening, with each passing 10 minutes, this water is getting higher and higher. In fact earlier, Anderson, when I was on TV, I was a good hundred feet back from where I am now, I'm on the main stretch. If you look behind me about three-quarters of a mile, there are some red lights. Those red lights are the only working traffic lights now in town because all electricity is out.
That's on auxiliary power. They've just turned green. You can see them there. Just beyond that is the ocean. I can't even get 100 feet back now, the water will be up to my thighs at that point so the water is rising very quickly here, and of course, that water rising inland with respect to all the rain that's falling is going to be the major concern from points northeast -- north of here and northwest and of course, west.
Philadelphia is exactly 60 miles west of we are -- west of where we are, Anderson, and they are bracing for a lot of water in the next few hours -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ali, be careful. We're going to continue to check in with all our correspondents all throughout the region.
Governor Christie of New Jersey blasting the mayor of Atlantic City for encouraging people to shelter in place and not heed when the (INAUDIBLE) for evacuation. We're going to try to talk to the mayor a little bit later on throughout this hour.
Let's check in with our Chad Myers to get a sense of where this storm is now and how much longer the worst of it is going to be lasting -- Chad.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, we just got breaking news, this just in now. This cyclone, it's called a post-tropical hurricane, is no longer warm. Ali Velshi told you it got cold. That's the issue. It's not a warm core storm anymore. That's why it's just a regular low pressure center. Didn't lose any wind, though, still 85 miles per hour.
It has now made landfall not that far from Cape May courthouse in southern New Jersey which would be right there.
Our Ali Velshi is right here, right there in the center of that. Here's the turnpike from Philadelphia right to Atlantic City. There's not much wind where Ali is because he really is in the eye of the storm. And when the eye goes over you, you lose your windfall, you lose your wind speed. The problem with where our Anderson Cooper and Rob Marciano right there is they're now into a new band of weather that will be coming in. Every time the rain picks up, you can see these rain bands, the wind will pick up. And the wind is shifting direction and this is the issue with all of this storm surge.
And I know they weren't expecting all this storm surge in the battery. We're now over 13 feet, that's a new record by a couple and a half feet and it's still going up. This was always a very big threat, the storm surge. And we didn't see the storm surge earlier because the wind was from the northeast.
That doesn't blow water to the shore, it just blows wind. Well, now, now the wind has shifted because of where the center is. The wind is now coming this way. And when the wind comes this way and this way here, it's going to pile up right along where Lady Liberty stands, and then Battery Park is where our reporters were.
Not only that, not only that, but now we have water pouring into Long Island Sound. There's only one way in and out of Long Island Sound when you get back here toward Manhattan. That's called the East River. This water is going to want to go down the East River and all this water is going to want to go up the East River, and that's the collision that's occurring right now.
Roosevelt Island, up near LaGuardia, Kings Point, that's where two water masses are colliding. One wanting to go one way, the other wanting to go the other way. And that water, that surge is coming up very, very quickly. The surge will continue for our Anderson Cooper. The surge will even get stronger for our Ali Velshi and all along this New Jersey coast, things are very significant at this hour.
One more thing to talk about is that all of this wind is still in here into Connecticut. I'm still getting wind gusts to 84 miles per hour in Connecticut and into Rhode Island and also here all the way up toward Barnstable. Big waves in the ocean. Some of this storm surge, 12, 10, 15 feet, will have waves on top of it five or 10 or 15 feet, so that's overwashing some of these barrier islands.
That's why all 38 barrier islands along New Jersey's coast had to be evacuated. Our reporters and crew are not on the barrier islands. Most of them on the landfall, the land area where there's not a bay behind you. That's why it's a little bit safer because they have some place to go. If you're on the barrier island, bridges are closed, you can't get off at this point.
Anderson, can you hear me?
COOPER: -- obviously throughout this hour.
Rob, just explain if you can to our viewers, I mean, in terms of -- of power of the storm, it was only a cat 1 when it was a hurricane. It's no longer a hurricane. That's not the strongest hurricane we have seen. It's one of the most extraordinary storms they've seen. Why? Because it doesn't feel -- I mean it's --
MARCIANO: The amount of pressure that we've seen, how it's dropped and that low pressure --
MYERS: We're going to try to get back to them. Obviously, this is in and out. What's going on with our satellite truck is that we have this satellite dish pointed at the sky and if you get wind gusts around 80 that thing starts to shake. And that's where they are.
Are they back? Do we have a good signal from them now, guys? All right. We're going to go to -- we're going to go to Rehoboth Beach right now which is down in Delaware. They've had over seven inches of rain there in Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. All day long, there has been significant flooding and I think it's probably still going on.
Go ahead, Rehoboth Beach, what do you have?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chad, we're in Rehoboth. About 50 miles south of Atlantic City, where Ali is. And right now the weather is still continuing to be quite treacherous here. I have never seen, all the hurricanes I've covered, such intense waves in the Atlantic Ocean. I've seen waves like this in Hawaii. I've never seen it in any of the Atlantic hurricanes I've covered before. Here at Rehoboth, which is often considered America's summer capital, because it's a beautiful beach resort and it's very close to Washington, D.C., so lots of politicians come here, bureaucrats, workers in Washington every summer.
It's a small town of about 1300 people year round but tens of thousands of people are here in the summer. It's very environmentally fragile. And right now we have a lot of houses that have been flooded, a lot of streets under water, a lot of vehicles that are under water.
Major problems here but as of now, no casualties, and that's the good news. Rehoboth is on the end of the Delmarva Peninsula. It's called Delmarva because they're parts of three states in this peninsula. This is Delaware, toward the south is Maryland, and the south of that is Virginia. Five counties, Accomack and Northampton Counties in Virginia, Worcester in Maryland, and Kent and Sussex County here in the state of Delaware.
Now many of you may not be familiar with this area but I can tell you, you may be familiar with parts of what happens in the Virginia part of Delmarva, that's where Assateague Island and Chincoteague is. So if you have children or if you've ever been a kid with (INAUDIBLE) you may have heard of "Misty of Chincoteague."
Yes, this "Misty of Chincoteague" is the story about wild ponies. And here on Assateague Island, Delmarva, is a the largest population of wild ponies east of the Mississippi River. And right now, they're on Assateague Island about 40 miles south of us dealing with this hurricane or what was a hurricane but dealing with Sandy right now and these winds that about an hour ago have been up to about 80 miles an hour here.
Chad, back to you.
MYERS: I have seen all those ponies. They are fuzzy ponies. They got there because of a shipwreck offshore. The horses were on the boat or on the ship. The horses got to land and they have been there ever since. Couple hundred years now. They take them off every once in awhile and if they thought that that was going to be a significant thing, they would have swam them across on to the shore.
I don't know what they did with them but these little guys, they lay down in the sea oats and then the grass and they are going to be just fine. So don't worry about that.
This whole area here is still under the influence of a major low pressure center. And I know you've heard that this is no longer a hurricane. It's no longer a hurricane because it doesn't have an eye and it's not over warm water. It has transitioned to a cold storm. That's why it's snowing in West Virginia and Virginia itself.
The storm system, though, still has an awful lot of punch. The pressure is still very low. The winds are going to blow for 48 more hours. This is a big, still a big deal and, Anderson, getting to a high tide now with the water coming over. There will be a low tide and another high tide and the water may still be high in that next high tide cycle.
Anderson, I hear we have you back online? Go right ahead.
COOPER: Yes, we do. I'm on the phone. Basically our satellite truck is just rocking too much in the wind.
MYERS: That's right.
COOPER: And the water's actually, I mean, Chad, what's extraordinary is, and I haven't seen it, we talk obviously a lot about storm surge, but it's amazing just how -- when it comes in. I mean just how quickly it moves in. I mean we've seen water overlapping the boardwalk now in Asbury Park but it was about 45 minutes ago, then suddenly this entire area just was under water.
MYERS: You had a wind shift and that's the -- that's the problem. The water was out there the whole time. It was under the low pressure. Now that the low pressure has made landfall, that bubble or that dome of water has come onshore and we know where you are, you're far away from the eye compared to people south of seaside, down to the south, water coming over those barrier islands for sure into the bay and into Toms River.
That water probably coming up very, very quickly. And we're going to experience this for many more hours, even after high tide. That water is not going to want to go back because the wind is still going to keep pushing it in -- Anderson.
COOPER: And there's certainly -- there's a lot of debris right now flying through the air. We hear a lot of windows breaking, glass flying through the air. We saw a storm gutter. Obviously we are seeing transformers blow, all the kind of things we've seen in storms in the past.
I also want everyone to know about the situation in New York, in a high-rise building, this crane which had partially collapsed hours ago and the city officials, they're very concerned about the situation there.
Chad, I know we have pictures of it. What's the latest that you're hearing, Chad, on that? Because I haven't heard anything from my location.
MYERS: I watched this crane all day. We first got notice of it, I don't know, 1:00 so, and it dangled just straight down all day, Anderson. With not a lot of wind up there, or not very much wind. Now we see this thing blowing in the breeze and every time this thing swings out and swings back, its fatiguing the metal at the kink and the more it fatigues that metal, the higher the risk of that actually falling to the ground.
So buildings around it have been evacuated. All the way down at the surface, you see the wide shot of it, down at the surface, the fire department has it completely cordoned off, nobody in the area. What I'm concerned about is if it really gets clipped by a 100 knot wind because it's way up there, this is an 80-story building so the winds will definitely be higher up there than down at the surface. It could literally fly in the air for a couple of blocks where our first responders are down there trying to -- trying to take care of everybody else -- Anderson.
COOPER: Chad, appreciate that. We're going to continue to check in with Chad. Let's check in with Ashleigh Banfield now who's in lower Manhattan -- Ashleigh.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. I was just listening to you and Chad talking about that midtown crane, you know, problem. And let me tell you, that caused a lot of problems for the surrounding buildings and the entire Parker-Meridien Hotel, all those people who were there and also evacuating to that hotel were evacuated themselves because of the danger of that crane.
I should also let you know that that was a building under construction. A luxury high-rise. The penthouse of which just closed at $90 million. That apartment. So that is a very dangerous circumstance. I also want to let you know that I believe we might have one of our very first American casualties of this storm, a 30- year-old man in Queens has been killed by a falling tree.
I don't know if we have other reports yet because I haven't been able to listen to the New Jersey reports of any injuries or deaths, but I do know that has been confirmed now by New York authorities.
And I just want to take you over here for a minute so you can see where I've been all day, how fast this is coming up. I'm now standing in probably about a foot of water. This is the promenade where we've been all day and the water was 10 feet below here. So this is rising rapidly down here in Battery Park City -- Anderson. COOPER: We continue to monitor all the developments. We have reporters all throughout the region, throughout several states. Obviously huge power outages. At last count, I heard more than half a million people in the state of New Jersey without power. That number is likely to increase just because in the last hour or so, I have seen more transformers blowing in the Asbury Park area.
We're going to take a short break. Our coverage of this superstorm continues in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There are still people in Asbury Park, though. It's really -- there's some higher elevations, higher areas -- whoa. Here we go. Higher areas where you are actually able to get some pizza, a restaurant that was open a little bit earlier. But look at this, this entire area, you turn over here, I mean, this is -- it's about seven or eight feet of the sea foam stuff. Looks like it's snowing, almost. Never seen anything like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was about 45 minutes to an hour ago along the boardwalk in Asbury Park. I can tell you now, it is impossible to go in that area at all, that area is now under water and the water has moved about two blocks at least to a location where I am now, and we have actually got knocked off the air. Our satellite truck getting knocked around the wind too much.
I'm joining you on the phone. I want to bring in the mayor of Asbury Park, Ed Johnson, with the latest information.
Mr. Mayor, what are you hearing of the situation in Asbury? How many folks don't have power, what's the -- what's the latest?
MAYOR ED JOHNSON, ASHBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY: Well, things are very serious here in Asbury Park right now. We've had power outages throughout the day and they're increasing throughout the city. So the majority of the city, the power is out, and we have very strong sustained winds with gusts and, as you just mentioned, flooding in the boardwalk and our water areas.
COOPER: We're noticing a lot of debris flying around here, it seems like a lot of broken windows, storm gutters. Have you gotten any reports of injuries?
JOHNSON: Not yet. We have reports of scattered wind damage affecting some roofs, trees and power lines. Our DPW crews and our residents have been very good at trying to tie as much down as possible before the storm but with winds like this, with trees breaking and with debris in the area, it's very hard to try to prevent this type of activity.
COOPER: Do you have a read on how far this storm surge, how far this water may go? Because in the area about two blocks from the boardwalk, and the water came up really fast and as far as the eye can see, but I'm not sure how far inland it goes at this point. Are you?
JOHNSON: Well, Asbury Park has three lakes in addition to the waterfront. So I know that the ocean -- I have received reports that the ocean has breached the boardwalk, within one or two blocks of the ocean. We also have Deal Lake, Sunset Lake and Wesley Lake, which we did lower prior to the arrival of the hurricane, and water is now overflowing those banks.
So we have some low-lying areas where our residents did heed the warning to evacuate beforehand and so we've got people out of those areas. But it's just a natural flooding that's going on and there's no way to prevent it at this point.
COOPER: Have you ever seen anything like this in this area?
JOHNSON: I have not, and you have to remember, a year ago we had an earthquake and a hurricane all in the same week. Even comparing that, I have never seen anything like this before. It's very serious here. I would like to say to our emergency crews they have done an excellent job helping to prepare residents. They're still on the job, they're hunkered down right now preparing for first response, but they've done an excellent job at preparing the town and our residents.
COOPER: Well, Mr. Mayor, I know you have a busy night and a couple of days ahead of you. I appreciate you taking the time. And I wish you and the folks here the best.
JOHNSON: Absolutely. And you be safe.
COOPER: All right. We want to go to Jason Carroll now, who's in Lindenhurst, Long Island.
Jason, you've been seeing some incredible things all throughout the day. A lot of water there in Lindenhurst.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been incredible, Anderson. I know you've been talking about how the water has been steadily rising. We've been experiencing that all day long. Take a look at this street here. I know it's tough to tell because we lost power here, the power went out just about 20 minutes ago.
Behind me here, I know it looks like a canal but it's actually a street. We've seen so many streets like this flooded throughout this area. And I'm going to show you right over here, this is actually Montauk Highway. And I know people here are going to find this hard to believe because, Anderson, residents who have lived here for generations say they cannot remember the last time water breached the Montauk Highway. But we've seen several breaches along here.
Lindenhurst is under a mandatory evacuation but even so, throughout the day, we saw a number of people who were debating whether or not they were going to stay or go and just about, I don't know, maybe about an hour ago, Anderson, we were live on the air and then we just saw some of the last people coming out of their homes, struggling to get up the street.
Earlier today, we were out with Lindenhurst Fire Department, went out on some rescues with them, pulling people mostly out of their homes but we're also told they also had to pull people out of their cars. And this is one of the main reasons why when earlier officials were saying heed these very serious warnings, get out of harm's way, this is the reason why.
And though you can't see it, I can certainly smell it. There's a heavy smell of smoke in the air because not only has the fire department had to deal with the water like this which has risen throughout the area but several house fires, some electrical fires. So they're dealing with that as well, so a lot of problems here in Lindenhurst. By light of day I'm sure we're going to be seeing even more -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And it's just I'm getting more information on a fatality that Ashleigh Banfield had mentioned a short time ago. The fire department of New York apparently received a call at 7:27 p.m. Eastern Time this evening, a male of an unknown age, they don't know how old he was, had been struck by a falling tree on 166th Street in Queens, and apparently that person died on the scene.
Again that's all the information we have. And obviously, authorities will be releasing more information as they get it and as the family of that person has been -- has been informed.
Jason, do you have a sense of how high the storm surge has been and at what point it's going to peak there in Lindenhurst?
CARROLL: Well, what we're told -- well, a couple of things. In terms of the peak, we're hearing that's going to be about now and for the next hour. What I can tell you, I can give you a gauge. And though it's going to be hard to tell, if you can see where those car lights are right down there, we're going to use that as a gauge.
Earlier today, when I was on the street just two over, we were able to walk down that far. Now we're told if you tried to get down toward that level, it would be at chest height. That's chest height. Before it was at about knee high. Then it went to thigh high. Now it's just at about the chest, some of the deepest areas here.
So we're looking at about several feet under water and some deep -- some of the deepest parts -- spots of Lindenhurst. So that sort of gives you an average gauge of what some of the areas, some of the most affected areas are like here in this particular spot of Lindenhurst on the south shore of Long Island. In terms of when it will peak, like I said, they think it's going to be about now for the next hour.
COOPER: Well, that's certainly probably the best news people there have heard in awhile. The idea that it might peak now or within the next hour.
We'll continue to check in with Jason, obviously. We're going to take another short break. Regroup. Our coverage of superstorm Sandy continues in a moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: And you can see some of the main streets are flooded. This car is submerged, partially submerged under water. There is concern that if the worst of this storm come through, many other cars and many other homes and businesses could be under water, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hey, welcome back to our continuing coverage of the superstorm Sandy. No longer a hurricane but a very powerful storm still. Really kind of the peak time right now for storm surge.
Want to show you a live picture of that crane, that partially collapsed crane on the top of a skyscraper that was under construction on 57th Street overlooking New York's Central Park. A high number of billionaires have bought property in the apartments that are being built there.
Again, that crane partially collapsed, literally just dangling over the side of the building. Police have evacuated the upper floors of buildings around there. They're very concerned about what might happen with winds picking up and that crane flying through the air. Really have no idea of where or how far it could go.
We have also gotten reports now of a partial collapse of a much smaller building, the facade of a several story building on 14th Street on Eighth Avenue, around 14th or 15th Street on Eighth Avenue in New York City, Chelsea neighborhood. The facade of that building collapsed.
We're not sure exactly how that occurred, but obviously police are on the scene and looking into that. We are also now getting reports from the east side of the island of Manhattan, water overtopping from the east river.
And in some cases, we've gotten eyewitness reports of water as high as some of the parked cars on the street, literally flooding streets and getting -- submerging some of the parked cars. We're trying to get you some live pictures of that just to give you a sense of it, but a lot of concern in various parts of Manhattan that are really not used to this kind of severe flooding.
Again, if you're watching in other parts of the country and looking at this saying well, it was only a Category 1 storm, for a lot of people in this part of the country, this eastern seaboard, they are not used to dealing with this kind of a storm.
And this confluence of events so obviously, it's causing a lot of problems in areas that people don't have much experience dealing with this kind of a storm.
I want to check in with David Mattingly, he's up in Connecticut. David, what are you seeing there? DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you're talking about experience with these bad storms. Hurricane Irene hit this place last year and the people here had the experience of this kind of flooding, but not as rapid as what we've been seeing. We have been in a constant --
COOPER: We lost David Mattingly, obviously, technically, as you can imagine it is very difficult to maintain contact. That's why I'm talking on the phone. We literally got knocked off the air a short time ago.
Let's bring in Chad Myers, our severe weather expert who is monitoring events in the Severe Weather Center. Chad, what are we looking at in terms of timeline now for folks who are watching this and trying to figure out how long they're going to have been staying in their homes, how long this is going to last?
When is the water going to peak, when will we start to see some of this water receding and how long is this thing going to be lasting for?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't think we'll see the water recede enough through the low tide that we won't have another high tide on top of what we're seeing now in some spots. We could continue this flooding for another two tide cycles so at least another almost three-quarters of a day.
Our David Mattingly here along the Connecticut coast getting battered every once in awhile with these squalls that are coming onshore, and that's where the wind is. The wind is in a squall.
If you're in a no rain area, it's not translating from the sky where most of the spin is down to the surface. It's still windy, still 50, but it's not 80. When the wind comes with these cells, we go, the wind goes from 50 to 80 miles per hour.
Now these cells are approaching New York City so we will see in these smaller ones, but they will get color later. They will become convective because the water is still warm out here in the ocean. It's not hot, but it's warm.
And the circulation center will eventually travel right through Philadelphia, Wilmington and then just north of Baltimore with winds in that area easily 80 miles per hour. That would certainly knock down some power lines, knock down some trees.
We're seeing an awful lot of convection with wind here. This is Eastern Massachusetts and also into Rhode Island. It just really depends. I can't tell you where the worst is right now because it just continues to get worse in some spots but will get better in others.
These bright bands you see here that look like thunderstorms, in fact, no thunder at all, it's sleet. The sleet actually gets picked up by the radar and all of a sudden, you see it on the bright band right there -- Anderson. COOPER: Chad, on the radar image of this storm over the last several hours, there hasn't been really much of a back end it seems to this storm. It looks kind of like a one-sided storm. Why is that and does that mean that once the front of it passes, it's not so bad or are we just not seeing those winds?
MYERS: The winds aren't there yet and the weather wasn't there yet. But I know you can't see it because of where you are, but there is weather. Now, there is rain beginning to move into this dry area that was the eastern side of the eye.
There was no rain on this side for awhile. Now it's filling back in and now the whole storm as it comes onshore will continue. I know we told you it's not a hurricane anymore. That's just technical.
It still has sustained winds to 85 miles per hour with some higher gusts. It just doesn't have the warm eye, like eye of the hurricane that it takes to become or stay the hurricane.
It's now called a post-tropical low. It's basically going to turn into a big snowstorm, especially for places in West Virginia that could pick up five feet of snow -- Anderson.
COOPER: I really do want to urge people to stay indoors at this point. All of us now in this area in Asbury, we have moved indoors, the wind and the water moving just too fast for us to deal with now.
We are trying to get back up on the air in terms of our satellite truck, but I'm talking to you from basically inside a building that we have been able to shelter in for the last couple hours.
There's a lot of debris flying through the air. I'm looking at a piece of siding right now that just got blown off in this area. I want to bring in Dawn Zimmer who is the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, just across the Hudson from Manhattan. Mayor, what are you seeing? How are things there?
MAYOR DAWN ZIMMER, HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Things are not good at all in Hoboken right now. Unfortunately, the Hudson River has breached our city on both the north and the south end.
So I just saw it for myself, the water is coming across the New Jersey train tracks and going down observer highway and flooding the south part of the city, and I have been advised at the north end it's literally -- 15th and 16th Street, coming across from east to west.
And it's already reaching North Hudson Sewage Authority is totally flooded and people can't get out of there. We have quickly evacuated two of our fire stations. We are getting our employees out of the municipal garage as we speak. I cannot emphasize enough, Hoboken residents, please stay inside. We have four locations with live wires down.
The water is coming in and PSEG has pulled out their resources saying it's too dangerous for their employees so we're extremely concerned for our firemen and for our residents. We want to keep them safe. Best place they can be is absolutely inside at this time.
If you're in a ground floor apartment, you got to get upstairs. You got to knock on your neighbor's door and ask to stay with them because those flood waters are coming in right now. We just don't -- I'm hopeful that the flooding won't be too severe.
We've literally got the Hudson River coming in on both sides of the city and we're hopeful that it won't rise up too high until around 9:00, it should start to level off.
We'll see how high the waters get but many parts of the city now are impassable. Like I said, we have four areas where there are live wires down in the city street.
COOPER: I want you to repeat that. I think that's a really important message to get to people who are living in the ground floor, certainly in any kind of basement apartment. You're saying if you're on the ground floor right now, get to higher ground?
ZIMMER: Yes. I mean, we put out a notice, made it mandatory for people to evacuate from street level apartments and now it's really urgent because literally, as we speak, the Hudson River is flowing in at both sides of the city and so apartments in southwest and western side of the city are potentially going to be flooding very soon if they aren't already.
COOPER: How many blocks may that water go for?
ZIMMER: It's all the way back to the western side of the city so ten blocks back.
COOPER: Mayor Zimmer, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you. I wish you and your people the best there.
ZIMMER: Thank you very much.
COOPER: We want to take a short break. Our coverage though continues. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The superstorm Sandy, we are looking right now at some 2.8 million people right now without power. Con-Ed in Manhattan had now cut off power to Lower Manhattan. They say it's a precautionary measure to make it easier to restart power later on.
I want to check in with Ashleigh Banfield who is down in Lower Manhattan. Ashleigh, where are you and how high is the water now? Do you have a sense of how extensive the flooding is down there?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, let me give you an idea. I'm in Battery Park City and you're right. It's dark everywhere. And Anderson, one of the very eerie things is we're seeing a lot of transformers going off.
If you see flashes of light behind me, it's not lightning. It's transformers over on the New Jersey side and over here on the Manhattan side. We will pan over to see how dark it is real quickly. You can see the buildings over there are dark.
The ones that are light likely have generators on, Anderson. As for the actual water level, I have been here all day and I spent most of the day over by the seawall fence over here, and I'm walking in about a foot and a half of water, it's about knee deep right now.
And I think you've got video of my earlier live shots where I looked over the other side of this railing and I looked down ten feet to see the Hudson River. Well, now I'm walking in the Hudson River and all along this promenade that I'm pointing to was actually people running and just out having a look-see.
It was pretty remarkable to think that we had these gusts of 60 mile an hour winds and here's what I find very strange and maybe Chad later on in the program can help out here.
But Chad, if you can hear me, it's a wee bit windy now, but it is nothing like what I was enduring earlier. I had trouble standing up and I was being pelted by small pellets of rain. Now dry and it seems a little bit calm. I'm wondering if this is the calm before the storm -- Chad.
MYERS: No, Ashleigh, what this is, is the fact that because you don't have rain, you don't have wind. When it rains, that rain takes the velocity of the wind aloft, it's higher up there, and it translates it down to the surface.
That's when it gets gusty. When we have a squall come by, it gets gusty. You are in between a squall. The calm before the storm is something we use in tornado terms when you're in the hook echo and you're just -- something completely different.
But you will have much more weather still coming in behind this slight break in the rain, and then your wind will come in. Right now, your numbers for that area, talking about the Battery, the Battery Park area now, is up to 13.46 feet.
That's three feet above any water level we have ever seen before for the Battery Park or obviously, Battery Park City. It's the same water that's going in Hoboken on the other side.
BANFIELD: I think that record had been set back in 1960 with Hurricane Donna at 10.2 feet. So if we're that high, we come up in about an hour, we've come up from pavement below my feet to what you're seeing now, standing in the Hudson River.
Then one other quick note I just want to make, and Chad, this speaks to what you were saying earlier was that with this surge coming in and so much of it pushing into Long Island Sound and we're on the opposite side of Manhattan.
I'm on the west side of Manhattan right now. Long Island Sound is on the other hand of the tube of Manhattan, over past the east river, but we're all getting the same amount of water. This is a lot of water and it's fast.
My concern was for Laguardia Airport and sure enough, just in the last 20 minutes, Laguardia Airport shut down. Now, that doesn't mean the other airports are shut down in this vicinity. Newark is still open to our best information as well as JFK.
No flights, any, all three of these airports are flightless today, to the tune of about 10,000 flights by tomorrow. I think about 7,500 flights today and 2,500 flights tomorrow.
This is not any kind of area that you want to be flying into with the winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour. There was one other thing I wanted to let you know about. We are a sea level city, one of the most famous sea level cities in the world.
You can see why the concern is so big. I'm standing at sea level now. Anderson, are you back up with us?
COOPER: Yes, I am, Ashleigh, thank you very much. The situation obviously still continues to change very fast. We are getting reports from all different parts of Manhattan. We will take a short break.
Also just getting a report that New York City's been experiencing a huge amount of 911 calls and police are asking people with non- emergency calls to please call 311, which is for non-emergency numbers. But please, do not dial 911 unless it is a true emergency. We will take a short break. Our coverage continues in a moment.
COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of superstorm Sandy. I'm Anderson Cooper reporting tonight from Asbury Park, where conditions are still very, very dicey.
Joining us now on the phone is Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Mayor, I just wonder how the situation is in Newark.
MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Well, it's very perilous right now. We have downed lines all over the city, power out all over the city. We've had fires that have started as a result of power lines, a lot of debris rolling around our streets.
The water is now starting to come in. We are seeing roads completely blocked. We're in the middle of doing an amphibious rescue right now with people stranded.
We have challenges all over the city. We expect it to get worse as time goes on. Fortunately, most people are heeding the warnings by staying safe.
COOPER: Do you have any amount of casualties or people in need?
BOOKER: A lot of folks in need. We've had to do some rescues already. Fortunately, no reported casualties. Our emergency crews are out here working overtime right now transferring people to shelters and again, making sure they're addressing some of the fire situations in the city.
COOPER: We're also getting reports in New York of the 911 lines in New York City basically being overwhelmed and officials are asking people to please not use them unless it's a true emergency, to use 311. Are you having similar problems in Newark?
BOOKER: Absolutely. We continue to put the word out. Our version of a 311 line here in Newark is 973-733-3111. It is unfortunate people are using 911 in a time that is not an emergency.
To me, this is not an emergency, a problem does not amount to an urgent need is just not an emergency. We are hoping that folks all over New Jersey and the New York City area will refrain from calling 911 unless it's absolutely an emergency.
COOPER: Mr. Mayor, I know you're busy. I wish you the best. Thank you very much.
BOOKER: Thanks for giving attention to the problem.
COOPER: You take care. Let's check in with Ali Velshi, who has been reporting from Atlantic City. We have seen extraordinary weather there, extraordinary winds. How is it now in Atlantic City?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the water level is rising substantially. You'll see this emergency vehicle just turning in front of us. The water is now, we're downtown, right downtown Atlantic City.
It's above my knees now. We're not hitting high tide for another two hours here. Well, no, another hour. We will hit high tide in about an hour so it's still coming up. The winds are picking up.
A lot of time over the last hour, Anderson, I have been able to look up and actually see the moon. Now it looks like the back end of the storm might be starting to approach us. Chad would know better than I would, but it has become much colder.
The water's coming up much faster. There's vegetation around me. I have been standing in this water since about 3:00 this afternoon. There was no water. This was a road I was on. It is now one big coverage of water all through downtown Atlantic City.
It's the ocean has washed over this and there is now vegetation from the ocean all around us. There are still 500 people, maybe, in shelters here in New Jersey. These are people who didn't get out. There's no way to get out now, a complete travel ban and an absolute curfew.
We were seeing emergency vehicles around the city. We are now not seeing that because it's just too hard to get around. Even vehicles that were coming around here are now stopping, turning around and getting to higher ground.
There is some higher ground around here, but downtown Atlantic City is now submerged. The water is getting higher, getting colder, the wind is picking up. It looks like we might be getting the back end of the storm.
And of course it's heading inland, 60 miles west of here is Philadelphia and the greater Philadelphia area, and they are bracing for some heavy flooding as well -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ali, as you know, Governor Chris Christie was very critical of the mayor of Atlantic City for basically going against his instructions, apparently telling people to shelter in place. Has the mayor responded to Governor Christie's really blistering words for him?
VELSHI: No. The mayor was talking to us earlier before this happened and at that point, I asked him, I said, Mayor, what do you do for those people who haven't left because we had come in from the west and the roads were starting to become overwashed?
My concern was that it would be dangerous if at that point we were starting to see people leave. Just then I saw a pickup truck with a family in the back, two young children, they were being helped to safety and the mayor said at that point, if you're not out now, stay in.
The governor got very annoyed by that. I have to say, I don't know enough to get involved in the battle between the two of them on this particular topic, it was looking a little precarious at that point. It's quite precarious now. There is no chance you could leave if you wanted to at this point.
But at that point, I wonder whether or not anybody should have been trying to leave. Better to stay in your house at that point. I don't know what the mayor's response has been to the governor on that criticism.
COOPER: I should point out we just got word from the New York director of operations who says sea water is rushing into the Battery tunnel. I don't know the extent of it. We don't have actual eyes on that situation, but again, reports that sea water is getting into Battery tunnel.
That sounds dire. I don't want to be alarmist in any way. We don't know the level of sea water. This could be very small, could be not. We're trying to get more confirmation on that. Let's check in with Chad.
Chad, do you have a sense of the overall areas of flooding in Manhattan? Obviously, it's a hugely populated area and a lot of people just didn't evacuate.
MYERS: Right. You know, we have 13.5 feet at the Battery and I actually have a picture from the MTA of that tunnel and of water in that tunnel. There it is. You can see the shine down at the bottom.
That bottom shine is the water that is now filling the tunnel. This is the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. If you have been there a long time, it's been renamed the Carey Tunnel, but you know what it is. There is water going in now. There is water going in because the water has come up so quickly. Here's the latest sea level rise for the Battery area. Now up to almost 13-1/2 feet, that's three feet higher than the water has ever been.
Understand that that water is also going back to Hoboken and back into Newark. All of this is going to go up. If it's 13 feet right here, 13-1/2, it's going to be 13-1/2 or greater here.
We are also worried about Kings Point. All that water in Kings Point and this right here is Long Island Sound, wants to go down the east river. All the water that's in here, the New York harbor, wants to go up the east river.
That just doesn't work very well. Where that clash is, is where the water is really going up -- Anderson.
COOPER: Chad, at this point, is the Lincoln Tunnel still open? I mean, are other tunnels to the city open?
MYERS: I don't believe there's anything to get on or off the island right now at all.
COOPER: Wow. I had not heard of that situation before.
MYERS: There was still a couple bridges open, but at one point in time, the wind meter on top of the bridge hit 100 miles per hour and that last borough bridge finally just closed down. That was the last one that we knew of.
COOPER: We'll take another short break. Again, our coverage continues.
COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage. I'm live in Asbury Park. The situation, the island of Manhattan seems to be increasingly dire. We have just gotten a report of water in the Battery Tunnel.
We're now getting reports of water entering the subways in Lower Manhattan. Not sure how extensive that is. We're trying to get some more updates on that.
That would obviously be yet another development in a day in which we have seen a number of very severe developments. We still have the crane on 57th Street, which is dangling, and threatening that area. Buildings have been evacuated in that region.
We've got a building partially collapsed on Eighth Avenue around 14th, 15th Street. The facade of that building, one confirmed fatality in Queens. A person believed to be killed by a falling tree.
And again, we're hearing from mayors in Hoboken and elsewhere, in Hoboken in particular, that water is moving quickly. They're urging people on the ground -- ground floors to move up to higher areas in the apartment building, move up to the second floor or third floor. We'll be back live at 10:00.
Let's go to Piers Morgan right now with continuing coverage -- Piers.