High winds could ground the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons

thanksgiving day parade
High winds could ground the fantastical, soaring balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.
Credit: Andrew Kelly/Getty Images

High winds could ground the fantastical, soaring balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.

The balloons can’t fly in certain conditions and might be lowered or grounded entirely depending on Thursday’s weather, officials said.

Sustained winds are forecasted to reach 15 to 20 mph Thursday, with some gusts between 30 and 40 mph.

According to city rules, giant character balloons can’t fly in sustained winds exceeding 23 mph or wind gusts over 34 mph, a Macy’s spokeswoman said.

“At this time, it is too early to make any determinations on the flight of the giant balloons,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

On Thanksgiving Day, Macy’s works with the NYPD and the Office of Emergency Management to determine if the balloons will fly and at what heights using real-time weather data, officials said.

“Unless there’s reports of a major storm system, that decision would be made that day and morning,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Monday.

Wind has been an issue for the balloons for decades. In 1993, both a 65-foot Sonic the Hedgehog balloon and a 85-foot dinosaur balloon named Rex blew against lampposts during high winds.

A woman was permanently brain-damaged after falling debris struck her when huge gusts caused a giant Cat in the Hat balloon to strike a lamppost in 1997. The same year, police stabbed and deflated the Pink Panther and Barney balloons over fears they would injure others.

The wind requirements were established after the 1997 incidents, along with other safety measures.

The city also began heavily tracking wind patterns along the route after the 2005 parade, when the M&M chocolate candies balloons began swinging uncontrollably, catching on a streetlamp in Times Square and injuring two sisters.

Still, as recently as 2010, a a massive SpongeBob SquarePants balloon blew into a lamppost.

A sergeant is assigned to each of the balloons, said Kelly, who explained he had experience dealing with the huge characters.

“I held a turkey balloon when I worked for Macy’s when I was in high school,” he said with a huge grin. “I’m proud of it.”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…