How high will they fly?

That’s going to be the question of the morning on Thursday for the giant balloons at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Parade officials and the New York Police Department are keeping an eye on wind gauges along the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) parade route that snakes through Manhattan.

Michele Schleibaum, right, arranges protective netting on the Power Rangers Mighty Morphin Red Ranger balloon as it is inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The netting will be in place overnight. New York City's big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Michele Schleibaum, right, arranges protective netting on the Power Rangers Mighty Morphin Red Ranger balloon as it is inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The netting will be in place overnight. New York City’s big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

If wind speeds reach dangerous levels, the 16 helium balloons — including Smokey Bear and Snoopy — could be brought down to float at a lower level or taken out of the parade.

The National Weather Service is projecting sustained winds of up to 24 mph (39 kph) with gusts to 40 mph (64 kph) during the parade.

City rules require balloons to be grounded if sustained winds exceed 23 mph (37 kph) and gusts exceed 34 mph (55 kph).

Workers carry a helium hose as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon is inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city's big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Workers carry a helium hose as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon is inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city’s big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The parade, one of the city’s most popular events, features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, and marching bands, ending with an appearance from Santa Claus.

Among the performers scheduled for this year are actor Billy Porter of “Pose,” and singers Celine Dion, Ciara, Kelly Rowland and Idina Menzel.

NYPD Chief of Police Rodney Harrison has the final say on whether the balloons fly, and how high.

Crowds watch as the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city's parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Crowds watch as the balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city’s parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The character balloons can go as high as 55 feet (16 meters) off the ground and as low as 10 feet (3 meters).

The rules requiring them to be grounded in high-wind conditions came after wind blew a “Cat in the Hat” balloon into a lamppost near Central Park in 1997, critically injuring a woman.

In 2005, eight years after the “Cat and the Hat” went off course, an M&M’s balloon smacked into a lamppost in Times Square, causing cuts and bruises to a woman in a wheelchair and her 11-year-old sister.

Crowds watch as the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city's parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Crowds watch as the balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city’s parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In 2017, a gust on an otherwise calm day sent a smaller balloon into a tree branch. That one popped and fell harmlessly onto the crowd.

FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, the Olaf balloon floats past Radio City Music Hall during the 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
FILE – In this Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, the Olaf balloon floats past Radio City Music Hall during the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, the Ronald McDonald balloon passes by windows of a building on Central Park West during the 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, the Ronald McDonald balloon passes by windows of a building on Central Park West during the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, the Grinch balloon floats over Central Park West during the 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, the Grinch balloon floats over Central Park West during the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. The balloons have caused mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)