webpay/iStock(NEW YORK) — With gusty winds forecast for New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, it remains unclear whether Astronaut Snoopy, Smokey Bear, Olaf and the other 13 character balloons will be able to take flight.
“We’re going to call a lot of audibles,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said Wednesday morning.
At full height, the balloons fly at 55 feet. They can be lowered to 10 feet if the winds are too strong.
During the parade, sustained winds up to 25 mph and wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible.
There is a specially trained sergeant assigned to each of the 16 giant character balloons with an anemometer to help determine the safest course in real-time.
It’s possible some of the balloons fly and others can’t. For example, SpongeBob, being the largest, is a different consideration than one of the smaller balloons.
Bad weather has only kept the Macy’s balloons from flying once — in 1971.
Thousands of police officers will be on duty for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, despite the absence of a credible threat.
“There is no specific, credible threat to public safety at this time,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Wednesday as he outlined a security plan that includes heavily armed officers, explosive detection dogs, radiation detectors and drone interdiction.
Millions of spectators who line the route can “rest assured” they will be safe, Chief of Department Terrance Monahan said.
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