High Winds May Ground Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons (Video)
But the show will go on.
New York City is expected to see winds from 34 to 37 mph during the day, Tim Morrin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, told USA Today.
City regulations ground the balloons with winds over 23 mph and gusts over 34 mph, a decision made after a Cat in the Hat balloon knocked down a lighting pole during a parade in 1997, injuring several people.
“It will be noticeably breezy," Morrin told the paper, adding temperatures are expected to be in the 50s. “There will be sunshine but the winds will be noticeable.”
For their part, a Macy’s spokesman said it was too early to make a decision
Macy's spokesman Orlando Veras told CNN in a statement it would be a game day call, noting that each balloon is designed to fly at different heights based on the size of the balloon and the wind conditions. And if the winds pick up mid-parade, Veras said they have ability to quickly lower the balloons.
“The decision on adding the balloons to the lineup is made by NYPD and Macy's officials just prior to the start of the parade and takes into account the weather data along the entire parade route and information from nearby weather stations," Veras told CNN.
He added there were "a number of weather operations in place" for during the parade, including meteorologists to monitor on-site conditions.
"In addition, the assistant pilot on each giant balloon carries a wind meter, which is also monitored by an NYPD representative," Veras told CNN.
If the winds do cooperate, this year’s balloon lineup includes a 49-foot-tall Astronaut Snoopy, a 51-foot-long celebration of Green Eggs and Ham, and a 60-foot-tall Olaf (but we bet the cold — and wind — doesn’t bother him, anyway).
The 93rd annual parade will go on even if the signature balloons can’t fly, and includes 11 marching bands, the Radio City Rockettes, appearances by the Black Eyed Peas, Ciara, Natasha Bedingfield and, of course, Santa Claus.