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Live Blog: Business Braces for Hurricane Irene @@@@@

CNBC.com

Friday 8/26/11 10:36 AM/ET: Irene's Going to Be Expensive

NYTimes reports: A New York Hurricane Could Be a Multibillion-Dollar Catastrophe

New York City Skyline
AP

Time to think about the unthinkable. What if a major hurricane were to pass close to New York City, as several forecasting models now suggest that Hurricane Irene might?

Apart from the inevitable loss of life in the most densely populated part of the country, history suggests that the economic damage could run into the tens of billions of dollars, depending on the severity of the storm and how close it comes to the city. Unlikely but theoretically plausible scenarios could have the damage entering the realm of the costliest natural disasters of all time, and perhaps being large enough to have a materially negative effect on the nation’s gross domestic product.

Tropical cyclones in and around New York City and the Northeastern United States are fairly rare but not unprecedented. Using a relatively conservative set of criteria, I have identified 20 storms since 1900 that have made landfall north of the Mason-Dixon line with tropical-storm force winds (at least 39 miles per hour) or higher, 12 of which made direct hits on either Long Island or New Jersey. (You can read more and see their charts here)

Friday 8/26/11 10:22 AM/ET: The City Never Sleeps — But It Will Stop for Irene.

WNBC News reporting: NYC orders all construction work halted this weekend.

Meanwhile AP reports:

Work continues at the World Trade Center construction site, but storm preparations also are under way there.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Friday it is securing all cranes and other construction equipment at the site.

It also is securing debris and smaller objects that could be blown off the building at 1 World Trade Center.

Sandbags were being installed in areas that could be subject to flooding.

Friday 8/26/11 10:15 AM/ET: Will Irene Shutdown the NYSE?

Even though parts of lower Manhattan may be evacuated, the NYSE is prepared for the impact and planning to open as normal on monday morning. With more on the contingency plans, CNBC's Bob Pisani has all the details... and you can watch him here.

Friday 8/26/11 10:08 AM/ET: NYC's Bloomberg's Warning:  Coastal residents should move out Friday