Macy's: Parade balloons flying in cold Thanksgiving Day Parade

Michelle Charlesworth reports from the Upper West Side.
November 28, 2013 7:05:55 AM PST
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons are high in the sky after days of concern over wind.

The balloons are flying at a lower height due to the stronger winds.

The characters that glide between Manhattan's skyscrapers can't lift off if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts top 34 mph. That's because of city rules enacted after fierce winds in 1997 caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a light pole and seriously injure a spectator.


The NYPD, the National Weather Service and Macy's representatives made the final determination Thursday morning.

This year's balloons include SpongeBob Squarepants, Snoopy, Spider-Man and a 47-foot hot air balloon displaying the faces of characters from the classic film "The Wizard of Oz."

Only in 1971 were the balloons eliminated because of a severe storm.

Back in 1997, many remember the notorious Cat-in-the-Hat balloon incident when slammed into a light pole, and the falling debris sent one woman into a month-long coma.

Then in 2005, it was two out-of-control M&M's that hit a street light triggering other less serious injuries, but serious enough that high winds are something the cops and Macy's folks watch very closely.

A wet and blustery storm along the East Coast made driving hazardous and tangled up hundreds of flights Wednesday but didn't cause the all-out gridlock many Thanksgiving travelers had feared. The storm for the most part unleashed wind-driven rain along the Northeast's heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor from Richmond, Va., to the tip of Maine.

Elsewhere in the country, Thanksgiving traditions were unaffected by the weather.

In Washington on Wednesday, President Barack Obama pardoned two 38-pound turkeys named Popcorn and Caramel, fulfilling the annual presidential tradition.

In a holiday edition of his weekend radio and Internet address, Obama gave thanks for the country's founders, the generations who followed, and members of the military, and their families, for the sacrifices they make.

He expressed gratitude for the freedoms service members defend, including speech, religion and the right to choose America's leaders. And he had kind words for those who work to make America a more compassionate place.

Also Wednesday, two American astronauts on board the International Space Station, Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio, released a video from 260 miles above Earth showing off their traditional Thanksgiving meal: irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized yams, cornbread dressing, potatoes, freeze-dried asparagus, baked beans, bread, cobbler and dehydrated green bean casserole.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)