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Construction work banned as New York braces for new storm

New York City contractors have been told to cease any outside work for the second time in two weeks as the city braces itself for another severe storm.

City building inspectors are ordering all property owners and contractors to secure their construction sites and buildings in advance of the incoming storm, with all exterior construction work to cease at noon local time today.

The order comes after the National Weather Service has the city on a high wind watch and coastal flood watch beginning Wednesday morning and running through to late Wednesday night. A storm surge of up to 1.4m is expected.

“We can expect winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour (40km/h to 60km/h) and gusts rising to 45 to 55 miles an hour (72km/h to 90km/h), with the highest winds occurring late Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night,” warned New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg added that moderate coastal flooding was expected, especially during high tides in early afternoon and then later at about midnight. Flooding was likely to be exacerbated because many beaches have already had natural barriers eroded by Hurricane Sandy.

“The forecast calls for a storm surge of 2 to 4.5 feet (0.6m to 1.4m) - which is, you know, well below what Sandy produced, but still capable of producing flooding in low-lying areas,” said Bloomberg. “There’s also likely to be about an inch of rainfall in the city on Wednesday and Thursday, perhaps mixing with sleet early Wednesday morning and again Wednesday night.

“The storm surge also may be a little bit worse because with some wind this time you have some waves that exacerbate the surge, and a lot of these beaches have had their sand - which has acted as a barrier - eroded. So places that didn’t before have a problem with 2.5 to 4.5 feet surge might very well this time.”

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