UPDATED, 6:58 AM: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons are air-bound, though they’re flying at lower levels than normal as a precaution.
The wind is currently at a comfortably safe velocity for the balloons to go, though the forecast is that it could increase. As such, the NYPD just confirmed on Twitter that the SpongeBob inflatable is flying at a height of between 15 and 20 feet, rather than the 50-55 feet typical for the balloons.
PREVIOUSLY, 5:50 AM: Good news to start your holiday morning – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade looks set to go ahead as planned.
There have been concerns this week that the 93rd annual event would be significantly disrupted by severe winds that were forecast to hit Manhattan today, but NYC mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted just now that the winds “are holding” and the “balloons will FLY!”
The NYPD Midtown North bureau also tweeted that, as of 7am ET, the winds were calm enough to send up the balloons.
There will be 16 giant character floats in total, including a new SpongeBob Squarepants and Gary balloon.
Regulations state that they’ll be grounded if winds top 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph.
In the event’s entire history, the balloons have only been grounded once, in 1971, due to extreme weather. In 1997, a Cat in the Hat balloon injured four people when winds set it off course.
For those not in the vicinity, NBC and CBS will livestream the event — with the Peacock showing it live in the East and delayed to 9 a.m. elsewhere the Eye live in all time zone except Pacific, which its stream begins at 9 a.m. Verizon is offering a 360° stream on YouTube.
Among the SVOD services showing the parade live are AT&T TV Now, CBS All Access, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue — which will be showing its final Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade before the service shutters in January.
Performers at the event will include lack Eyed Peas and Celine Dion. Events get underway at 9am ET, we’ll be back with an update if the winds do pick up.