Sandy Forces Closure of Stock Markets Through Tuesday

Updated from 7:16 p.m. EDT with latest tracking of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. stock market will be shuttered for a second day Tuesday as Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy rumbled through the Atlantic Ocean striking the East Coast early Monday evening.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq announced on Monday that U.S. equity and option markets would be closed through Tuesday.

"In consultation with other exchanges and market participants, NYSE Euronext ( NYX) will close its markets in coordination with all U.S. equities, bonds, options and derivatives markets on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012," the NYSE Euronext announced in a statement. "We intend to re-open our U.S. markets on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, conditions permitting; updates will be provided tomorrow."

Monday's closure marked the first time trading had been suspended for an entire day due to weather since Sept. 27, 1985, when Hurricane Gloria battered the East Coast. Tuesday's shutdown would also mark the first four-day close of the NYSE since 2007, when markets stopped trading after a weekend to observe New Year's Day and a national day of mourning for President Gerald Ford's death.

"We anticipate that the center of the storm is going to hit landfall sometime this evening, but because of the nature of this storm we are certain that this is going to be a slow-moving process through a wide swath of the country, and millions of people are going to be affected," President Barack Obama said Monday at a press conference.

The president and his opponent, Republican nominee Mitt Romney, cancelled campaign event appearances on Monday and Tuesday. Both campaigns also issued emails that asked supporters to visit the Red Cross Web site about helping relief efforts.

The White House issued multiple alerts of the president having signed emergency declarations for states that would likely be affected by the hurricane. Emergency declarations included Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts, among other areas.

Before 8 p.m. EDT, Hurricane Sandy, which the National Hurricane Center is now designating as Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, made landfall along the coast of southern New Jersey. The storm's maximum sustained winds hit 75 miles per hour and the system's movement slowed to 18 miles per hour, according to an 11 p.m. EDT update. It had previously been moving at 28 miles per hour before making landfall.

Wind gusts of up to 79 miles per hour were reported at John F. Kennedy International Airport at around 9 p.m EDT.

The storm surge was reaching as high as 13.7 feet around 9 p.m. EDT at the Battery in New York City, which was threatening flooding throughout the city's Financial District. The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street is located near the Battery.

The center said that tropical-storm-force winds were expected to continue north of Chatham, Mass. through much of New England and south of Chincoteague, Va. Hurricane-force wind gusts were expected in these areas.

The National Hurricane Center said the center of Sandy would move across Pennsylvania during the next day or so and then move into western New York on Tuesday night.

A blizzard has also moved into regions of the Appalachians. Up to 10 inches of snow have fallen as far south as Newfound Gap, Tenn., according to weather.com. Forecasts suggest that areas above 2000 feet in the region could receive more than 1 foot of snow, and more than 2 feet of snow at elevations of more than 4000 feet.

The National Hurricane Center said it forecast a steady weakening of the storm during the next 48 hours.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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