High Winds May Force New York City Officials to Ground the Famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

Josiah Bates

The classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade could be without its most recognizable attraction on the big day this year.

Strong winds may lead New York City officials to ground the 16 balloons scheduled to appear on the morning of the Nov. 28 parade. According to city regulations established in 1998, the balloons aren’t allowed in the air when sustained winds are present that blow over 23 mph and wind gusts exceed 34 mph.

Currently, the forecast for Thanksgiving Day predicts wind gusts could be as high as 40 mph and sustained winds could go as high as 26 mph, according to the National Weather Service. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s New York bureau tells TIME that sustained winds are forecasted to go as high as 24 mph with gusts up to 39 mph at Central Park in Manhattan.

The wind regulations in New York City came about after four people were injured by a Cat in the Hat balloon during the 1997 parade. The balloon was impacted by strong winds.

A final decision will likely be made on Thursday morning. The parade is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.