Over 1.3 million New Jerseyans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving weekend, but the timing couldn’t be worse with massive wind gusts that could delay flights and potentially even ground the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The American Automobile Association estimates that 55 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving weekend, which kicks off the holiday season. It marks the second-highest travel volume behind 2005, since AAA began taking count nearly two decades ago.
Broken down, 1.2 million New Jersey travelers will drive – fueled by lowered gas prices – while 124,593 residents will travel by air and another 28,882 will travel by train, bus or boat.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey meanwhile expects upward of 6 million travelers will use its bridges, tunnels and airports this weekend. That includes an estimated 585,100 passengers who will fly in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport.
But all those travel plans and Thanksgiving arrangements could be hampered if weather forecasts pan out as expected.
The National Weather Service said that strong wind gusts, as high as 45 miles per hour, will sweep across the Northeast starting Wednesday evening into Thursday morning, which could ground many flights.
Organizers of the 93rd annual Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade announced that they might have to ground many of the balloons which might otherwise be blown away by the high gusts, according to AccuWeather.
The large character balloons can only stay in the air if the winds stay below 23 miles per hour, according to AccuWeather. The last time they were ground by wind speeds was 1971, according to the New York Times.