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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade may go ahead despite of strong winds

  • Getty

The iconic balloons are come alive once again on the streets of New York, with the organizers keeping an eye on the strong winds all the time.

Everything was ready on Wednesday afternoon. On the West 77th Street in Manhattan, Macy's Parade balloon characters, from Spiderman and Snoopy to newcomer SpongeBob SquarePants, were all ready but kept tethered to the ground for hours, as winds grew steadly and spectators streamed by nevertheless.

The iconic Thanksgiving parade this year was in danger not to go ahead, as New York City officials monitored the winds, knowing that they could have exceeded the city’s limit for flying balloons.Currently the city limit is 23 miles per hour or more and gusts exceed 34 mph.

But late in the afternoon came the first glimmer of hope: weather predictions had been scaled down, and the parade's balloons may still take off on Thursday morning.

The final decision has still to be taken at the time of writing. Several agencies will monitor the whether conditions, especially relevant for the biggest balloons. In particular, there was an incident in 1997 when four spectators where injured after a Cat in the Hat balloon hit a lamp post at 72nd Street and Central Park West, knocking down part of the pole.

Balloons can rise as high as five stories and be very difficult to control in strong winds. This is specially true for some of the biggest balloons that feature at Macy's parade. Furthermore, New York City can be particularly challenging because of the so called 'canyon effect', due to skyscrapers along the parade route creating a tunnel

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According to James P. Hall, the Police Department’s chief of patrol, the final decision will be made on Thursday morning, New York time.

PHOTOGALLERY: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats 2013

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