Hurricane Sandy has made thousands of East Coast dwellers move to higher ground as several cities announced shutdowns that usually happen after several feet of snow.

Washington region's public transit system including Metro, Virginia Railway Express and Maryland Transportation System ceased operations as educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities remained closed Monday and are likely to continue to stay closed Tuesday and Wednesday too, the Washington Post reported.

New York came to a halt as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered evacuation in Coney Island and Lower Manhattan resulting in closure of city's schools and subway system. Even Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter urged people to evacuate from low-lying neighborhoods.

U.S. stock and options markets will remain closed Monday and probably Tuesday. Apparently, market participants and regulators decided late Sunday to shut the market, reversing a plan to keep electronic trading going Monday, Reuters reported, adding bond markets will remain open till noon.

Employees of banks located in the evacuation zone of lower Manhattan's Financial District and non-critical staff who do not rely on high-speed systems were asked to work from home.

The storm is expected to slam into the U.S. East Coast Monday night, bringing torrential rain, high wind, severe flooding and power outages.

The rare "super storm," created by an Arctic jet stream wrapping itself around a tropical storm, could be the biggest to hit the U.S. mainland, forecasters said, according to Reuters.

High winds that take the form of hurricane-force gusts with speeds of 60 mph to 70 mph are likely to hit the D.C. region through Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Sustained winds of 30 mph to 40 mph, starting at 8 a.m. Monday, are likely to increase to 45 mph around noon.

Commenting on the intensity of Hurricane Sandy, weather forecasters averred that the confluence of intense elements was unlike anything they have seen before, particularly across a region with almost 60 million people.

Tampa International Airport received notice of 76 cancellations Monday, including 40 departures, as Sandy, with a breadth of 800 miles, rushed toward the New Jersey coast, Washington, D.C., and New York City, Tampa Bay Times stated.

Several flights at Reagan National and Dulles International airport were canceled. Flights at these airports will halt Monday morning. Travelers must be prepared to forgo flights from 10 a.m. Monday until after the storm passes, David Mould, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates National and Dulles, told The Washington Post.

As a ripple effect of shutting down flights to most of the East Coast states, national air travel is likely to be snarled for days after the storm passes.

Even Amtrak canceled service in the northeast Monday, shutting down the rail line between Washington and New York.

At present, Sandy's death toll is reported to be 65, with 51 recorded deaths in Haiti.