WRAPUP 3-Hurricane Sandy lashes U.S. East Coast

Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:05pm EDT
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* Hurricane expected ashore Monday evening in New Jersey

* Could be biggest to hit U.S. mainland

* New York, Philadelphia and Washington in its path

* New York Stock Exchange closed Monday and Tuesday

* Early warnings of $20 billion in economic losses

By Daniel Trotta and Tom Hals

NEW YORK/REHOBOTH BEACH, Del., Oct 29 (Reuters) - Hurricane Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, battered the densely populated East Coast on Monday, shutting down transportation, forcing evacuations in flood-prone areas and interrupting the presidential election campaign.

Fierce winds and flooding were expected along hundreds of miles of Atlantic coast and heavy snows were forecast farther inland at higher elevations when the center of the storm moves ashore Monday evening near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

U.S. stock markets were closed for the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and will remain shut on Tuesday. The government in Washington was closed and school was cancelled up and down the East Coast.   Continued...