MICHAEL R. SISAK
NEW YORK (AP) — Smokey Bear might feel like he's battling Santa Ana winds — if he even gets a chance to fly.
New York City's big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place Thursday amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons, which have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts have blown them off course.
The New York City Police Department is monitoring wind gauges along the 2-½ mile (3.22-kilometer) parade route and will order the 16 helium-filled balloons to a lower altitude or have them removed entirely if wind speeds reach dangerous levels.
That's only happened once, in 1971.
The National Weather Service is projecting sustained winds of up to 24 mph (38.6 kph) with gusts to 40 mph (64.4 kph) du