Strong Winds May Ground Iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloons

City regulations specify that the balloons can't be flown if wind gusts exceed 34 mph

Strong wind gusts up to 40 mph could impact Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, forecasters say.

With a storm system rolling through the northeast on Wednesday, lingering winds on Thanksgiving Day could prompt officials to ground the iconic balloons but a decision won't be made until near the start of the parade.

NBC New York's meteorologists say heavy gusts could be between 35 to 40 mph in New York City around 9 a.m. ET when the parade is expected to begin.

City regulations, put into place in 1998 after a giant Cat in the Hat balloon injured four people when high winds caused it to knock over part of a streetlight, specify that the balloons cannot be flown if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph, according to "Today."

If the balloons are grounded, spectators will miss out on beloved characters like Pikachu, Elf on the Shelf, Pillsbury Doughboy, Olaf, Trolls, as well as new balloons which include Astronaut Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants and Smokey Bear.

But not to worry, the rest of the show will go on.

Special musical guests like Celine Dion, Idina Menzel and Lea Michele will entertain during the three-hour event set to begin at 9 a.m. ET Thursday on NBC.

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