Speed Reads

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Strong winds might keep balloons grounded during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

If the forecasts are correct, this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will look very different.

The stars of the show are the character balloons that fly high over spectators, but under New York City regulations, they can't go up when sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph, CNN reports. These rules were enacted in 1998, in response to an incident that occurred during the 1997 parade; strong winds caused the Cat in the Hat balloon to knock down a light pole, injuring four people.

The National Weather Service is forecasting sustained winds of 22 mph on Thursday, as well as wind gusts of 39 mph. If the sustained winds stay below 23 mph but the gusts go over the limit, officials will have to make the call that morning on whether the balloons go up. The last time the parade's balloons were grounded for weather-related reasons was in 1971.