Downtown Manhattan roads were partially submerged as West Side Highway, usually a bustling traffic artery turned into a river with rapids running across. Con Edison energy company is cutting power to some areas as transformers explode.
The doomsday scenario that newscasters have touted on television as Hurricane Sandy worked her way up the Eastern Seaboard seems to have arrived in Downtown Manhattan. As the high tide reached New York Harbor around 8PM EST it joined forces with a record storm surge of 12.6 feet above normal tide levels, brought in by the hurricane. Water levels were rising fast, flooding subway and street tunnels. A series of electrical explosions could be observed when flood waters entered basements and underground installations, putting large parts of lower Manhattan into the dark. The New York Times reported that one of their photographers saw cars floating down Wall Street. A report by CNN that the New York Stock Exchange was under three feet of water was quickly retracted.
Around 6PM the winds peaked at around 60 mph, as the city closed all remaining bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn, with some gusts reported up to 85 mph. Still in the throes of the worst of Hurricane Sandy, which has made landfall in southern New Jersey around 6PM EST, the winds and rains will continue until at least 2AM before some easing can be expected.
Throughout the day people were out in the storm, even an 85 year old with a rollator walking his dog. As the waters slowly rise in the dark, many Manhattanites have finally decided to return home.
At this point the full extent of the damage is unknown. As New York City awakes to a new dawn, a major clean-up effort awaits.