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Tuesday
Nov262013

High Winds May Ground Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

Brad Barket/Getty Images for Nickelodeon(NEW YORK) -- New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, a one-time Macy’s stock boy who manned a rope on a turkey balloon in his teen years, said Tuesday it is “certainly a possibility” some or all of the more than four dozen balloons in the Thanksgiving Day parade could be grounded because of high winds.

“We've done a lot of training on this,” Kelly said.  “The balloons as you know can be lowered to various heights, they can be lowered all the way down, or they can be eliminated, not brought out at all. These are decisions that will be made as we go forward, depending on weather conditions.”

A brand new “Snoopy with his pal Woodstock” balloon making its parade debut is among those that could pose a risk in sustained winds above 23 mph or gusts of 34 mph.  There is one NYPD sergeant assigned to each giant character balloon and each carries instruments to measure wind speed and cross winds between the buildings. There are 15 giant balloons, plus 37 smaller ones.

A Macy's spokesperson told ABC the decision on whether the giant balloons will join the lineup is made based on real-time, on-the-scene weather data, and not on forecasts. No giant character balloon will be operated when there are sustained wind conditions exceeding 23 miles per hour and gusts exceeding 34 mph, according to city guidelines.

"At this time, it is too early to make any determinations on the flight of the giant balloons," the spokesperson said.

The balloons have only been grounded once before in 1971.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio