Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons lay on their bellies on the pavement of West 77th Street in Manhattan as they were inflated on Wednesday evening.
Spectators to the inflation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons streamed by, children in strollers pointing out their favorites, parents pulling tiny parkas closed and shoving little hats down on heads as the wind steadily picked up throughout the afternoon.
New York City officials have been monitoring that wind, wary that strong breezes could mean that Spider-Man will not soar and Woodstock from “Peanuts” may not get his bird’s-eye view.
Earlier weather predictions of winds that would exceed NYC’s limit for flying balloons — a rule that kicks in if winds are 23 miles per hour or more and gusts exceed 34 mph. — had been scaled down. New predictions as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday called for Thanksgiving morning winds of 20 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The final decision will be made on Thursday morning by several agencies, based on guidelines that were created after a Cat in the Hat balloon hit a lamppost at 72nd Street and Central Park West in 1997, knocking down part of the pole and injuring four spectators.
Forecasting winds in the city is challenging because of the “canyon effect,” with the tall buildings along the parade route creating a tunnel, said Joe Picca, a meteorologist at the Weather Service.
“Tomorrow before the event we will make a determination,” said James P. Hall, the Police Department’s chief of patrol, on Wednesday afternoon.
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