Fear of high winds and power outages from Hurricane Sandy closed Wall Street markets Monday and will also close NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges on Tuesday.
The powerful hurricane, which is expected to reach landfall by late Monday afternoon, was moving more quickly than expected, according to the National Hurricane Center's James Franklin.
"We have already tropical storm force winds," Franklin said Monday afternoon, and added that hurricane-force winds are expected to slam New Jersey before the end of the day.
In response to weather reports, NASDAQ released a statement explaining that NASDAQ OMX exchanges are expected to reopen and operate as normal on Wednesday, Oct. 31, but will be closed Tuesday.
"The decision was made in consultation with regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, other U.S. exchanges and government officials. Safety, market continuity and a variety of factors related to Hurricane Sandy were carefully considered, including the state of emergencies declared by New York City, New York State and other state and local governments," the NASDAQ release said.
NYSE also issued a statement which indicated its intent to close Tuesday, but reopen Wednesday.
Sandy's wrath has not only caused headaches for the exchanges, but also for many East Coast businesses. The expected wind damage and rainfall totals could be extensive. Franklin predicted six to 11 feet of surge plus tide, and "historic flooding" in New Jersey. Four to eight feet of water is expected to move into Connecticut.
Rainfall is also an inland threat, he said, which may come as a surprise to those in the mid-Atlantic and on into the Appalachians; Appalachian precipitation will likely come as snowfall.
Franklin said there would be an evolution of Sandy from a Hurricane into a winter storm, offering "a collection of hazards," he said.
"Time is running out to prepare," Franklin concluded.