Winds Could Ground Macy's Parade Balloons

By CBS News

Published 11/27 2013 05:49AM

Updated 11/27 2013 05:56AM

NEW YORK -- Organizers of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are keeping a close eye on the weather. A windy forecast could take the air out of some of the parade's most famous displays.

The new balloons  were taken for a test flight earlier this month at the Meadowlands.

The parade debut of "Adventure Time's Finn And Jake" - anxiously awaited by these California kids in New York for the week.

"I think it's gonna be cool!" says an excited Cameron Meyer.

But right now the flight of the 16 big balloons is up in the air thanks to a windy weather forecast.

Sustained winds exceeding 23 miles per hour or wind gusts topping 34 miles per hour could keep the balloons grounded.

(Reporter): "How disappointing would that be?"

"Extremely disappointing given how far we've traveled to get here," says Viviana Meyer, who traveled from California to see the parade.

The city has revised parade protocols twice after balloon accidents.

In 1997 a Manhattan mom spent 23 days in a coma after the Cat in the Hat balloon struck a light pole.

In 2005 - two sisters visiting from Albany were injured in a similar accident involving the M& M's balloon.

Now - an NYPD Sergeant walks with each group of balloon handlers to assist with safety.

"They can be lowered all the way to the ground or the determination can be made not to fly...but we make it with OEM," says Ray Kelly, NYC Police Commissioner.

Kelly says the office of emergency management - police- and Macy's will make the call based on actual conditions on parade day.

Already at the Macy's muster point on the upper west side - a wind sock is in place.

And on Thursday, safety crews will have handheld wind-speed meters to gauge if it's safe for Snoopy and pals to take flight.

(Tony Aiello for CBS)

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