Frigid temperatures are expected in much of the Northeast on Thursday, but winds won’t be so strong that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade can’t roll as scheduled.
Local broadcaster NY1 says its forecast calls for sustained 17-mile-per-hour winds, with gusts of up to 28 miles per hour. Safety standards say the parade’s 16 balloons, featuring larger-than-life versions of cartoon characters like Charlie Brown and the Grinch, can’t fly if sustained winds are stronger than 23 miles per hour or gusts exceed 34 miles per hour.
The current standards went into effect after people were injured by falling debris in 2005 when an M&M’s-themed balloon got entangled with a streetlight.
There’s also a chance New York could see a record low temperature on Thanksgiving Day: Accuweather is predicting a morning low temperature of 21 degrees and an afternoon high of 27. The coldest Thanksgiving on record in New York City was in 1871, when the temperature reached a low of 15 degrees and a high of only 22 degrees.
That Thanksgiving fell on November 30, a date later in the year than Thanksgiving could ever fall today. At one time, the holiday took place on the last Thursday in November. Now, it takes place on the fourth Thursday of the month. This year’s date of Nov. 22 is the earliest the holiday can take place. Earlier Thanksgivings are usually seen as a gift to retailers, since they mean a longer holiday shopping season.