Sandy intensifies as it turns toward US coast

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Hurricane Sandy intensified Monday as it roared toward the US East Coast, bringing New York, Washington and other major cities to a standstill, amid warnings of life-threatening floods. The weather disrupted the US election campaign, shut down the New York stock exchange, brought donw power lines and triggered the evacuation of thousands of people from low-lying coastal areas at risk of unprecedented storm surges.
The category one hurricane, which has already killed at least 66 people in the Caribbean, is expected to make landfall near the evacuated gambling haven of Atlantic City in the state of New Jersey around midnight.
Streets leading up to the city’s famed ocean-front boardwark were flooded, and streets deserted as the city braced for high tide. Forecasters, however, have warned that the storm’s effects could extend all the way from North Carolina to New England. As it approached, Sandy’s maximum sustained winds strengthened to 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour) from 75 mph in the morning and at 1500 GMT its eye was located 205 miles southeast of Atlantic City. President Barack Obama canceled an appearance in the battleground state of Florida, returning to the White House to steer a huge government relief effort while citizens battened down hatches and watched the weather on live webcams.