This week’s weather forecast could literally be a downer for this Thursday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If New York City experiences the high winds that forecasters are currently predicting, parade officials will have no choice but to ground the 16 iconic character balloons.
As CNN reported Monday, the massive balloons can’t be flown when winds exceed 23 mph and gusts of wind exceed 34 mph, as per city regulations.
Four people were hurt in 1997 when the parade’s Cat in the Hat balloon got caught up in strong gusts. After that, NYC set up new laws to protect paradegoers.
The National Weather Service is forecasting winds up to 22 mph and winds gusts of 39 mph on Thursday; however, that forecast could change. Although the sustained winds are within the regulations, the gust may exceed them.
City official will likely determine if the character balloons will be flown early Thursday morning. The last time the parade balloons were grounded for weather purposes was 1971, the New York Times reports.
Despite the forecasted winds, the weather is expected to be much warmer than last year’s parade at a range of between 44 and 47 degrees.