High Winds and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a long-standing holiday tradition in New York City.  This year, high winds could ground the event’s famous giant character balloons.

According to city guidelines, the multi-story balloons cannot fly if there are sustained winds in excess of 23 mph or gusts above 34 mph.  The current forecast for Thanksgiving Day expects winds close to this threshold.  Parade organizers say they will monitor the weather conditions and consult with the city on Thursday morning to decide if the balloons can fly and at what height.

While the parade marches in rain or shine, high winds are a serious threat to the massive balloons and the crowds of spectators that line the route.  In 1997, gusty winds sent the “Cat in the Hat” balloon careening into a light post, which caused debris to fall on parade goers, seriously injuring one person. Following this incident, a mayoral commission established the wind regulations currently in place.

With or without balloons, the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 9 AM on Thursday morning.  Happy Thanksgiving!

“Hello Kitty” Balloon floats down Broadway as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.                         Image Credit: 1000cutethings.com

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.