NEW YORK - The 93rd Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off in midtown Manhattan on Thursday morning, but this year's festivities might not include the giant balloons.
"It's going to be a game day decision," said Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison.
The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course.
If sustained winds exceed 23 miles an hour or if gusts exceed 34 mph, the balloons stay grounded.
The higher the gusts, the lower the balloons fly.
"We can go from 10 feet high up to 50 feet high," said the NYPD.
Seven anemometers will measure windspeed along the parade route.
Handlers can wheel the 16, helium-filled character balloons up or down accordingly along the 2.5 mile parade route.
"It's going to be a game day decision," said the NYPD.
Two meteorologists from the National Weather Service will be on hand to monitor conditions.
If the giant balloons are grounded, it would be only the second time in the parade's history.
The balloons were inflated as scheduled outside the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday.
The lineup for this year's parade features Astronaut Snoopy, Netflix's Green Eggs and Ham and SpongeBob SquarePants and Gary, while heritage balloons include fan favorite Smokey Bear. Unveiled this year will be contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama's balloon, 'Love Flies Up to the Sky.'
The parade route steps off at W. 77th Street and continues south along Central Park West. At Columbus Circle, the parade turns east onto Central Park South and then south onto Sixth Avenue, and then onto W. 34th Street and ending at Herald Square.
No matter the weather, Santa Claus arrives at the end.
With the Associated Press