Weather could ground Macy’s parade balloons

Wintry weather on the East Coast Wednesday is putting Thanksgiving plans for many at risk, as forecasters anticipate precipitation and winds that could make driving dangerous, delay flights, and keep the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons out of the streets Thursday morning.

The balloons are prohibited from flying when sustained winds are stronger than 23 miles per hour and gusts exceed 34 miles per hour. As of Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service was predicting winds from 14 to 24 miles per hour on Thanksgiving, with gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. Parade officials and police will determine Thursday morning whether to fly the balloons, according to a spokesman.

The weather service has issued winter storm warnings for parts of the Appalachians, Ohio, and interior Pennsylvania and New York. The warnings indicate that forecasters expect several inches of snow and hazardous conditions for travelers. The storm, which first developed in the south and west before moving across Texas and the southern Great Plains, has already caused several fatalities on the roads.

Forecasters are expecting rain Wednesday closer to the ocean, likely turning to flurries of snow later. The precipitation, along with potentially damaging winds that the weather service expects to be as strong as 60 miles per hour in Boston and southeast New England, could result in delays at several busy airports.

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
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