A final ruling on the balloons' fate will likely be determined on Thursday

By Dave Quinn
November 25, 2019 10:38 AM

The forecast isn’t looking too good for fans hoping to see the iconic balloons fly high at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.

According to the National Weather Service, winds of 22 mph with gusts of 39 mph are expected on Thursday — which could mean that the 16 helium-packed balloon characters that traditionally float the famous New York City parade route might be grounded.

It would be the first time since 1971 that weather caused the balloons to be grounded, according to the New York Times.

Back in 1998, N.Y.C. officials instituted regulations saying that balloons cannot be flown when sustained winds exceed 23 mph, and gusts exceed 34 mph, CNN reported.

A year before, in 1997, winds pushed the Cat in the Hat balloon into a lamp post on Central Park West, injuring four people below including a woman who spent three weeks in a coma.

Since then there have been other accidents — including in 2005 when an M&M balloon caused a light pole to fall on two sisters, and in 2008, when a Keith Haring balloon took a wide turn and crashed right into NBC’s broadcast booth, temporarily taking them off the air.

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade - 2
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
| Credit: Courtesy Rizzoli
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
| Credit: WireImage
Elf on the Shelf balloon
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
| Credit: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty

An official ruling on the balloons’ fate will likely be determined on Thursday, as wind conditions can often change, CNN reported.

On the bright side, temperatures in N.Y.C for Thursday morning are looking better than last year’s record low of 19°F, which was recorded as the second-coldest Thanksgiving Day in the city’s history.

This year, the National Weather Service reports sunshine with a high of 49°F.