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(NEW YORK) — After concern due to days of windy weather, the balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will fly on Thursday, avoiding their first grounding since 1971.

On Wednesday, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that training had been done so that the balloons could have been lowered to “various heights” based on the wind. Kelly did admit that if the weather conditions were particularly unfavorable, they could have been grounded entirely.

Instead, the winds calmed enough for the parade organizers to give the okay. Only one alteration was made to standard procedures — the balloons will fly five feet lower than their maximum height on Central Park West. Following that, the balloons will be flown at their typical level, five stories up.

There are 15 giant balloons and 37 smaller ones in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, a number of which could be dangerous to fly in the presence of sustained winds of 23 mph or in gusts of 34 mph. One NYPD sergeant is assigned to each giant character balloon and has instruments to measure wind speed and cross winds.

Making its debut in the 2013 parade is a “Snoopy with his pal Woodstock” balloon.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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