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90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Chilly, wet weather on tap as millions line Manhattan streets

Over 3.5 million people will line the streets of Manhattan this Thanksgiving Day for the 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The parade will begin at 9 a.m. EST Thursday. Chilly, wet conditions will await those planning to attend. Spectators should consider bringing an umbrella or rain gear if they're venturing into New York City.

"A weak storm system will pass by New York City on Thursday and bring a little rain to the city," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said. "Temperatures will be in the middle 40s."

The event takes place whether rain or shine, but if conditions are determined to be too windy, then parade officials will not incorporate the iconic giant balloons because they can become unsafe to operate.

Orlando Veras, a Macy's Parade spokesman, previously told AccuWeather that when wind speeds exceed 23 mph and gusts surpass 34 mph, giant balloons cannot be operated due to city regulations.

However, the wind should not be an issue on Thursday. Winds will be out of the east-northeast with speeds ranging from 4-8 mph, according to Root.

The weather has been a factor numerous times in the event's history.

Performers line up at the start of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Photo/Macy's Inc.)

A torrential downpour kept balloons grounded during the entire 1971 parade for the first time in history. Strong winds nearly grounded the balloons in 2013, and in 1989, the parade marched through its first snowstorm.

Having begun back in 1924, the parade is one of the longest running holiday traditions in the country. This year's edition is scheduled to feature 16 giant character balloons, over 1,000 cheerleaders and dancers, 26 floats and 16 marching bands.

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