Frigid winds to whip through NYC for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
November 22, 2018, 3:06:31 AM EST

The 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on Thursday morning, with over 3.5 million people expected to line the streets of Manhattan to watch the dazzling display of balloons and floats.

The coldest air so far this season will descend on the Big Apple in time for the parade, accompanied by icy winds.

“It will be a cold day in New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, so spectators will need to bundle up,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis, adding that dry, sunny weather would prevail for the festivities.

Sunshine my be ineffective given the temperature and wind forecast for the region.

Static Macys 3 pm

Temperatures will only be in the lower 20s during the parade, which starts at 9 a.m. EST.

However, cold winds gusting to 30 mph at times will make it feel even more uncomfortable.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will be at dangerously low levels in the single digits, putting anyone with exposed skin at risk for frostbite.

If the forecast high in the upper 20s on Thursday afternoon holds, it would be one of the top three coldest Thanksgiving Days in New York City on record.

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“The wind may also be a factor for the balloons,” Travis said.

Some of the balloons might not be able to fly or might be kept lower than you would typically see, he added.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade '17 AP

Multiple parade floats are seen at the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

If wind speeds are determined to be too high, the iconic giant balloons will not be included in the parade due to safety concerns.

Macy's Parade spokesman Orlando Veras previously told AccuWeather that when sustained wind speeds exceed 23 mph and gusts surpass 34 mph, giant balloons cannot be operated due to city regulations.

While the tall buildings in the city can act as a buffer against the winds, they can also create a wind tunnel effect, causing winds to increase in-between the skyscrapers.

In some situations, the balloons may be pulled down as close to street level as possible.

Anyone attending the event should make sure to dress in full winter attire, with hats, gloves, scarves and numerous layers. Hand and foot warmers may also be good items to bring along.

This year’s parade will include many of the balloons and floats from years past as well as several new additions, including Little Cloud by FriendsWithYou and Sunny the Snowpal.

Musical acts will include John Legend, Leona Lewis, Martina McBride, Pentatonix and Sugarland.

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