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High Winds Could Blow Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Ground Balloons

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gusty winds could ground the high-flying balloons of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, which can't fly in certain conditions.

    Sustained winds on Thursday are forecast to reach 15 to 20 mph, with gusts between 30 and 40 mph; The limits for letting balloons fly is 23 mph winds and gusts of 34 mph -- rules set by a commission in 1998 after a serious accident amid high winds the year before.

    A Macy's spokesman said Monday that organizers will look at "real-time" conditions, not forecasts, and that a decision would be made on Thursday morning.

    The 2.5-mile parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West and marches to Herald Square.

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    Organizers have closely eyed the parade forecast, especially predictions for wind, after accidents over the years.

    Two sisters were injured in 2005, when tethers from the M&M's Chocolate Candies balloon became entangled on the head of a street lamp. The women suffered cuts and bruises.

    And in 1997, two people were seriously hurt as a Cat in the Hat balloon slammed into a metal pole.