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World/National News

November 26, 2013

Around the World and Nation

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Winds could ground balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade; rain and snow snarl holiday travel

NEW YORK (AP) — Thanksgiving travelers scrambled to book earlier flights Tuesday to avoid a sprawling storm bearing down on the East Coast with a messy mix of snow, rain and wind that threatened to snarl one of the busiest travel days of the year and ground giant balloon versions of Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants in the Macy’s parade.

The iconic characters that soar through the Manhattan skyscrapers every year may not lift off Thursday if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph, according to city rules enacted after fierce winds in 1997 caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a light pole and seriously injure a woman spectator.

Current forecasts call for sustained winds of 20 mph and gusts of 36 mph.

“At this time, it is too early to make any determinations on the flight of the giant balloons,” said Macy’s spokesman Orlando Veras. “On Thanksgiving morning, Macy’s works closely with the NYPD, who, based on real time weather data and the official regulations determine if the balloons will fly and at what heights.”

Balloons have only been grounded once in the parade’s 87-year history, when bad weather kept them from flying in 1971. They’re set to be inflated in Manhattan on Wednesday evening.

New breed of Wi-Fi-pumping discount buses draws Thanksgiving travelers weary of airport hassle

CHICAGO (AP) — As millions of Americans hurtle through the jumble of transportation arteries for Thanksgiving, many are discovering that bus travel may be the cheapest, comfiest and even coolest way to stay Zen during the nation’s largest annual migration.

After nearly half a century of decline in the bus industry, a new breed of sleek, Wi-Fi-pumping intercity coach is transforming the image of buses as the much-ridiculed travel option of last resort. With free Internet connections, tickets as cheap as $1 and decent legroom, companies such as Megabus.com and BoltBus are luring holiday travelers disenchanted with the hair-pulling rituals of airports and driving.

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