Possibly the highlight of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the assortment of balloons, because who doesn't love seeing ginormous versions of Pikachu and the Pillsbury Dough Boy against the backdrop of New York City skyscrapers? Sadly, this Thursday's forecast suggests winds so strong that the 16 giant character balloons may be grounded.

According to NBC New York, a "storm system will move in on Wednesday, bringing in more clouds, showers and gusty winds by the afternoon. The rough conditions could prompt airport delays as well as create troublesome conditions on the road. While the rain is expected to move out just in time for Thanksgiving, strong winds up to 40 mph could impact Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade and ground the iconic balloons."

Current Thanksgiving Day Parade protocol grounds balloons if sustained winds are above 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph. These rules were put in place after a Cat in the Hat balloon knocked over a street light pole on Central Park West during a very windy parade day in 1997, injuring four people. One woman was in a month-long coma (odd fact: Cory Lidle crashed his plane into her Upper East Side bedroom in 2006; she was not at home).

Macy's balloon handlers test out "Love Flies Up to the Sky"

"Love Flies Up to the Sky," the balloon designed by Yayoi Kusama

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"Love Flies Up to the Sky," the balloon designed by Yayoi Kusama
Macy's

The wind regulations are not a surefire solution: A pair of sisters were injured by a falling street lamp, struck by the M&M's balloon, in 2005, prompting then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg to convene a Thanksgiving Day Parade Safety Task Force that, among other things, streamlined communications between the city and Macy's and created an "enhanced wind-testing system to provide real or near-real time wind measurements at major intersections along the parade route."

The decision about whether to fly the balloons will be made on Thursday morning. Macy's spokesman Orlando Veras told the Post, "On Parade morning, Macy’s works closely with the NYPD, who, based on the current weather data and the official regulations determine if the balloons will fly and at what heights. Each is designed to fly at different heights and angles based on their shape and scale and the exact wind conditions along the route... The decision on adding the balloons to the lineup is made just prior to the start of the Parade by NYPD and Macy’s officials and takes into account the weather data along the entire Parade route and information from nearby weather stations."

The parade starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday at Central Park West and West 77th Street.