2019-11-27 13:46:371 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Chanel Adams, Photo Source: Charley Lhasa
The New York winds could ground the famous balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time since 1971. Strong winds could reach 50 MPH on Thanksgiving Day, affecting some commuters as well. Thanksgiving Day used to occur on a seasonably fall day. But it looks like winter is coming early with the National Weather Service forecasting winds of 39 MPH during the parade itself.
City regulations revealed that the balloons can’t be flown if the winds exceed 34 MPH. This puts the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at a standstill. It looks like the core focus will be on the Broadway performances and performing acts rather than the iconic balloons. The winds are a result of a storm that’s headed towards the northeast on Wednesday. Those lingering winds could hamper Thanksgiving Day plans for millions, but that decision won’t be made until before the parade.
The 16 balloons will not be able to travel down Sixth Avenue on Thanksgiving if those wind conditions don’t improve anytime soon, according to AccuWeather forecasters.
“Guests are forecast to frequent 30-50 mph from the north and northwest,” according to meteorologist Courtney Travis.
According to NBC New York’s meteorologists, the strong winds could reach between 35 to 40 mph in New York City at 9 a.m. ET, when the parade is expected to begin. The city regulations were taken into effect in 1997 after a Cat in the Hat balloon injured four people when strong winds caused it to knock down a streetlight. The balloons will not be able to fly if the winds reach 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph, according to the Today Show.
That means if the balloons are grounded, then guests will miss out on some of the iconic balloons such as Elf on the Shelf, Olaf, Pikachu, Pillsbury Doughboy, including some new balloons like Astronaut Snoopy, Smokey Bear, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Instead, the musical guests will keep people occupied. Celine Dion, Lea Michele, and Idina Menzel are just some who are expected to entertain the millions of guests during the three-hour event.
While the ground winds may ground the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, officials still have a backup plan in place.
“The decision on adding the balloons to the lineup is made by NYPD and Macy’s officials just prior to the start of the parade and takes into account the weather data along the entire parade route and information from nearby weather stations,” New York Police Department company spokesperson Orlando Veras told CNN.
Each of the balloons is expected to fly at a certain height and angle based on the shape and scale as well as the wind conditions on that route. If the winds pick up during the parade, Veras said that officials will have to quickly lower the balloons and remove them from the lineup. The parade also has “a number of weather operations in place” throughout the parade, according to Veras.
Licensed meteorologists will be on sight to monitor weather conditions. Weather officials will also be in close contact with the National Weather Service on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, wind monitoring stations will be placed along the parade route.
“In addition, the assistant pilot on each giant balloon carries a wind meter, which is also monitored by an NYPD representative,” Veras said.
However, the parade will go on even with those iconic balloons.
“The parade takes place rain or shine,” Veras added. “We will march on with a parade filled with entertainment for New York and the nation.”
The last time the balloons were grounded at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was back in 1971 when there was an “extreme wind.” But parade officials don’t plan on having a repeat of 1971 or 1997 for that matter. Precautions will be put into place to ensure the safety of the guests.
The winds are also expected to impact commuters traveling on Thanksgiving Day. The powerful winds are expected to last until noon, according to forecasters. The commute on Thanksgiving Day is expected to be rough. The strong winds could knock down New Yorkers as they try to reach their destination throughout the morning rush hour.
The 50 mph winds could reach The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island until noon, according to a wind advisory from the National Weather Service that was reported earlier this month. In addition, some forecasters predict that 47 mph winds could hit Central Park. John F. Kennedy Airport is expected to have 56 MPH gusts. Even Friday is expected to be a little gusty, according to the National Weather Service.
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