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

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.