Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began its spectacular promenade through Manhattan as scheduled Thursday, defying high winds that had threatened to ground its massive balloons for the first time in more than 40 years.
The decision to float the balloons came early Thursday, as police, parade officials and meteorologists eyed forecasts that had called for sustained winds of more than 20 mph and gusts exceeding 30 mph.
The parade’s balloons are not allowed to fly if winds are higher than 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph.
The rule was adopted after the 1997 parade, when fierce winds caused the Cat in the Hat balloon to careen into a lamppost, sending debris to the ground that left one spectator with critical head injuries. The same year, police stabbed the Barney balloon into a flat, rubbery mess after it also threatened to become a danger in winds that exceeded 40 mph.
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