Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Authorities Will Decide If Balloons Will Fly Thursday Morning Amid Weather Woes

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on tomorrow, but parts of it may be flying a little under the radar this year. According to CBS New York, the possibility of strong winds could end up grounding some of the event's bigger floats. Or, at least, keep them much lower than in previous years.

The NYPD will be monitoring the weather all along the planned parade route before making the official call tomorrow morning if the 16 larger floats will end up airborne.

"These sergeants are well trained to read the anemometers to identify the height of where we can allow the balloons to go up," explained NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison. "The balloons can actually go up to 55 feet in height, but if it comes to a situation where there is a public safety we will bring them down to 10 feet."

Speculation about this year's parade began earlier this week when reports of winds anywhere from 18 up to 40 mph. Should the winds gain that kind of momentum, the larger floats featuring iconic cartoon characters may not soar above the streets quite as high as other years in the interest of public safety.

There have been a handful of isolated incidents that have occurred at the Macy's Parade over the years. It was canceled outright in 1971 due to 40 mph winds, and a Cat in the Hat float was caught up in a strong gust back in 1997, which ended up injuring four attendees in the crowd. There was also a string of incidents involving the release of balloons at the end of the parade throughout the 1920s and '30s before the practice was eventually stopped after 1932.

More recently, last year's parade was almost bogged down by similar weather. However, it was featuring the first-ever same-sex kiss on a live broadcast that ended up drawing the ire of some viewers.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began back in 1924, with the now-trademark giant floats first appearing a few years later. Today, roughly 3.5 million people line the streets of New York to see the parade up close, while millions more watch it unfold live on TV on the morning of Thanksgiving.


The parade will be broadcast live on CBS and NBC starting at 9 a.m. ET, as well as a livestream that will be available on YouTube.