Will They Fly? Winds Could Ground Balloons For Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – CBS New York
Strong winds could weigh down the 16 large character balloons.
“We had the same concerns last year. It’s going to be a game day decision,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said Tuesday.
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The NYPD plans to make the call tomorrow morning. The department will use weather instruments placed along the route and work closely with parade officials.
“We have supervisors assigned to each one of the 16 character balloons that are trained. We have seven anemometers throughout the route that will determine the wind gusts regarding the height of each one of the balloons,” said Harrison.
The balloons cannot fly when sustained winds exceed 23 miles per hour with gusts over 34 miles per hour.
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The only time they were grounded for bad weather was back in 1971. Safety is paramount, especially after past incidents left spectators injured.
In 1997, four people were hurt when the Cat in the Hat balloon whipped around, snapping a light pole. One woman spent a month in a coma.
In 2005, an M&M balloon also snagged a pole, and the pieces fell on two sisters from Albany.
The newest balloons, like astronaut Snoopy, recently had a test run at the Meadowlands, giving crews a chance to feel out any flaws.
“That gives the pilot an opportunity to see – depending on what the wind pattern would be – where they need to place their handlers or have them raise up or pull down,” John Piper, vice president of production for Macy’s Parade Studio, told CBS2.
The balloons will be inflated from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. today outside the Museum of Natural History.