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Thanksgiving storm: Travel is OK, but Macy's parade may lose balloons

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Julio Cortez/AP

(Read caption) A couple rest their feet on their luggage while waiting for their flight to return home to Germany at Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday in Newark, N.J.

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As warm rains bluster up the Eastern seaboard, disrupting pre-Thanksgiving travel on the busiest travel day of the year, New York City officials must decide what to do with the country's largest holiday spectacle, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meanwhile, communities across the Midwest and South prepare for their own outdoor events in plummeting – and in some cases record-breaking – temperatures.

While the storm has been less disruptive to air travel than reports early in the week indicated, the area around New York City is bearing the brunt of weather-related complications. By Wednesday afternoon, flights to five airports – Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, and New York's Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, and John F. Kennedy – were being delayed at their points of origin.

The bobbing floats and marching bands of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade draw performers from around the country to New York, along with 3.5 million spectators each year. But the whimsical fete's balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceed 23 miles per hour and gusts exceed 34 miles per hour. After ferocious winds in 1997 caused a mammoth Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a light post and seriously injure a spectator, the city restricted the parade to safe wind conditions, reports Associated Press.

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