Strong winds during Macy's Thanksgiving Parade may leave the iconic balloons grounded this year
If the gusts exceed 34 mph and the winds 23 mph, the city does not allow the giant balloons to be flown
The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade to be held on Thursday, November 28 may not see the iconic balloons fill up New York sky due to strong winds. The city does not allow the balloons to be flown if gusts exceed 34 mph and the winds cross the 23 mph mark.
The regulations came into effect in 1997 after one of the balloons, that of a Cat in a Hat, hit a lamp post in Central Park West and resulted in four injuries. One of the people injured was left in a coma and had to spend three weeks in the hospital. Then, in 2005, another character balloon hit two people.
According to the National Weather Service, winds are expected to be at 22 mph and gusts at 39 mph during the parade. The decision on whether or not to fly the balloons will be taken on Thursday. The balloons will be inflated in Manhattan at the American Museum of Natural History. "Winds this strong will be a safety concern for balloon handlers and spectators along the parade route," AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, it is the New York Police Department that determines how high the balloons will fly.
Macy's seems unbothered by the potential rain-on-my-parade moment and went on to tweet, "Only 4 days left until our #MacysParade! From welders to carpenters to sculptors to painters, here are some of the hard-working people that bring it all to life."
The weather regulations are only applicable to the large balloons.
According to the New York Times, the balloons can become difficult to control, since they can rise up to five stories high. The only time that the balloons have been grounded is back in 1971 after officials decided it was too risky to fly them before the regulations were placed.
The balloons feature pop culture characters and each of them is handled by 90 people. The handlers are also trained and are required to be physically fit and weigh more than 125 pounds, according to NYT.
The balloons have featured Pikachu, Olaf from 'Frozen', Popeye, Betty Boop, and The Smurfs among hundreds of others.