The storm bearing down on the East Coast with a messy mix of snow, rain, and wind is threatening to ground giant balloon versions of Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The iconic characters that soar between the Manhattan skyscrapers every year may not lift off tomorrow if sustained winds exceed 23mph and gusts exceed 34mph, according to city rules enacted after fierce winds in 1997 caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a light pole and injure a spectator.
Current forecasts call for sustained winds of 20mph and gusts of 36mph. "At this time, it is too early to make any determinations on the flight of the giant balloons," says a Macy's spokesman. The store will consult with the NYPD in the morning to make the final call. Balloons have been grounded only once in the parade's 87-year history, when bad weather kept them from flying in 1971. They're set to be inflated in Manhattan tonight. (Read more Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade stories.)