Balloons fly at Thanksgiving parade

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The giant balloons got the all-clear from the NYPD to fly during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (FOX 5 NY)

Frigid temperatures and blustery winds were no match for holiday cheer as giant character balloons took to the skies, and performers on floats and marching bands made their way through New York City's streets on Thursday for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It was one of the coldest Thanksgivings in decades in New York City. 

The high temperatures for the holiday were not expected to go above freezing and the low temperatures were expected to be in the teens. New York City won't get out of the 20s, FOX 5 NY Meteorologist Nick Gregory said.

"Get ready for an amazing parade, but put on every layer you have in your household, wear every glove you can find, every scarf, hand warmers, whatever you got, you're going to need it tomorrow," Mayor Bill de Blasio told crowds gathered to watch the parade's giant balloons being inflated. "I want to tell everyone be ready to enjoy but recognize it's going to be really, really cold."

On Thursday morning, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill announced the balloons would fly along the 2.5-mile parade route despite earlier concerns the winds would ground them

Sustained winds were expected to reach up to 25 mph. The 16 large character balloons were one of the main attractions of the parade.


In 1997, gusty winds carried a giant Cat in the Hat balloon into a light pole near Central Park, sending debris into the crowd. A woman was left in a coma for 24 days. Two other people were hurt.

That same year, handlers lost control of a Barney balloon in Times Square in 40-mph gusts and it was pulled across a streetlamp and broke apart.

%INLINE%The incidents led to stricter rules on how and when the balloons could be flown at the parade. It limits the site and use in winds stronger than 23 mph. The rules require 50 to 60 handlers per balloon.

That didn't stop an incident in 2005 where an M&M balloon went out of control and hit a streetlamp, slightly injuring a few people.

The 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is expected to attract millions of people to the streets of Manhattan as bands, balloons and floats head south to the department store's flagship location on Broadway at 34th Street.

%INLINE%The high temperatures for Thanksgiving usually average in the mid-40s. The high temperature for Thanksgiving 2017 was 43 degrees in New York City.

People heading out for Black Friday shopping the next day will also need to bundle up. It will be slightly warmer but temperatures will still be in the mid to upper 30s.


With the AP