The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place tomorrow as scheduled, but all of the action may be on the ground.
Since 1997, when gusts blew a giant Cat In The Hat float out of control, New York City has been careful not to allow balloons to fly on days when high winds may be an issue.
As seen in the above news report from 1997, the winds that year caused the inflatable Cat in the Hat to blow out of control, causing an accident that left one woman in a coma for nearly a month.
According to the New York Times, Macy’s has a licensed meteorologist, who is “armed with a laptop and an open line to the National Weather Service, on hand every year to observe weather conditions, monitor gusts and help make decisions about the floating characters in the procession.”
Per city regulations, the giant balloons cannot fly at all if there are sustained winds above 23 miles per hour or if gusts exceed 34 m.p.h.
The Times reports that even if winds are high, Macy’s still plans to bring out 40 smaller inflatable figures, which will are more easily controlled than the giant ones that they usually use (and which can be difficult to control under the best of circumstances). The final decision on whether the parade’s giant balloons get pulled from the lineup won’t be made until Thursday morning.