Parade balloons fly as historic cold grips NYC for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2018 will go down in the history books as one of the coldest ever.

Responsible for this unusually early Arctic assault is a cold front that will deposit Siberian air over the Northeast.  It is delivering a present for winter lovers and a curse for everyone else: the coldest air mass of the season, worthy of a January day.

By dawn on Thanksgiving, temperatures will fall in the city to about 20 degrees, making it the third coldest turkey day ever. The last time we were colder on this holiday was 1901, when temperatures bottomed out at a frigid 19 degrees.

The cold will be merciless throughout the day, with temperatures never leaving the 20s and wind chills expected to be around 5 to 15 degrees during the parade.

Earlier forecasts predicted icy winds to be so strong, it may have impacted parade balloons and their flying status. According to NYPD Commissioner, James O'Neill. The parade was given the green light and the balloons are expected to fly at the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as of 8:15 a.m.

If sustained winds exceed 23 mph or gusts surpassed 34 mph, the balloons would not be able to fly during the parade.

To receive alerts and notifications about the parade and cold weather, spectators can text THXGIVING18 to 692692.

Susan Tercero, producer of the Macy's Parade, said they are working closely with police and authorities to ensure the parade will run smoothly.

The parade will have 26 floats, 16 giant balloons, including crowd favorites like Charlie Brown and Olaf, novelty balloons, over 1,000 cheerleaders and dancers, and marching bands.

Newcomers this year include floats featuring the Ninja Turtles, Elf on a Shelf 'Elf Pets', Kinder Chocolate Factory and a Splashing Safari Adventure by Kalahari Resorts. An old favorite, Tom the Turkey, got a revamp this year. With a fresh coat of paint, wings flapping, eyes rolling and head bobbing - Tom will usher in Thanksgiving as the lead float.

Performers this year include Diana Ross, John Legend and Leona Lewis.

The parade is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. from Central Park West and 77th Street and Santa will be rolling in at about noon.

The parade will proceed on the following route:

  • South on Central Park West to Columbus Circle
  • South through E/S Columbus Circle to 59th Street
  • East on 59th Street to 6th Avenue
  • South on 6th Avenue to 34th Street
  • West on 34th Street to 7th Avenue (dispersal area)

For the full list of street closures, click here.

As many prepare for their Thanksgiving meals, others are preparing to hit those Black Friday deals. Going out? Bundle up.

It remains brutally cold on Black Friday, with deal-seeking shoppers facing temperatures starting out in the upper teens and rising only to the low 30s.

Saturday starts out sunny, but a storm system will move in, bringing rain late in the day. Winds will shift to the south, allowing temperatures to climb into the seasonable lower 50s.

The rain will linger Sunday morning, but skies will partially clear by afternoon. Temperatures will inch slightly above normal, with highs in the mid 50s.