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In New York City, police went to low-lying neighborhoods with loudspeakers, urging residents to leave. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t issue mandatory evacuations, and many people stayed behind, some because they feared looting, others because they figured whatever happens couldn’t be any worse than what they have gone through already.

“I’m staying,” said 61-year-old Staten Islander Iliay Bardash. “Nothing can compare to what happened Still, authorities urged caution. The city manager in Long Beach, N.Y., urged the roughly 21,000 people who ignored previous mandatory evacuation orders in the badly damaged barrier-island city to get out.

All construction in New York City was halted — a precaution that needed no explanation after a crane collapsed last week in Sandy’s high winds and dangled menacingly over the streets of Manhattan. Parks were closed because of the danger of falling trees. Drivers were advised to stay off the road after 5 p.m. and part of the busy Long Island Expressway was shut down in both directions because of icing.

About 6:30 p.m., the Long Island Rail Road suspended service in and out of Penn Station.

Airlines canceled at least 1,300 U.S. flights in and out of the New York metropolitan area, causing a new round of disruptions that rippled across the country.

By the afternoon, the storm was bringing rain and wet snow to New York, New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. Huge waves pounded the beaches in New Jersey. Firefighters in New York City responded to reports of tree branches falling into buildings, blocking streets and knocking down electrical wires.

Forecasters said the nor’easter would bring moderate coastal flooding, with storm surges of about 3 feet possible Wednesday into Thursday — far less than the 8 to 14 feet Sandy hurled at the region. The storm’s winds were expected to be well below Sandy’s, which gusted to 90 mph.

Sandy killed more than 100 people in 10 states, with most of the victims in New York and New Jersey. Long lines persisted at gas stations but were shorter than they were days ago. By early Thursday, more than 292,700 homes and business in New York state were without power, and another 403,000 in New Jersey lacked electricity. In some areas, the numbers began climbing again Wednesday evening.

The storm could bring repairs to a standstill because of federal safety regulations that prohibit linemen from working in bucket trucks when wind gusts reach 40 mph.

Authorities warned also that trees and limbs broken or weakened by Sandy could fall and that even where repairs have been made, the electrical system is fragile, with some substations fed by only a single power line instead of several.

“We are expecting there will be outages created by the new storm, and it’s possible people who have just been restored from Sandy will lose power again,” said Mike Clendenin, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison, the main utility in New York City.

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Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jonathan Fahey, Tom Hays, David B. Caruso, Meghan Barr, Kiley Armstrong, Jennifer Peltz and Deepti Hajela in New York; Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains, N.Y.; and Angela Delli Santi in Harvey Cedars, N.J. Eltman reported from Garden City, N.Y.