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Mild Wednesday followed by blustery Thanksgiving, forecasters say

Zoey Drapal, 19, of East Patchogue reads a

Zoey Drapal, 19, of East Patchogue reads a book outside at Bellport Marina on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

The Thanksgiving weekend is expected to start with mild weather, deliver a blustery holiday, and potentially end with the landscape blanketed with snow, forecasters said Tuesday.

Heavy winds, however, might bring a downer to the celebration, as Thursday's sustained winds may ground the 16 giant character balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, officials said. 

Wednesday marks a big holiday travel day, and it is expected to be mostly cloudy and breezy with some scattered showers on Long Island, said News 12 meteorologist Richard Hoffman. Temperatures could rise as high as 57. The showers should end by 8 p.m., with lows going down to around 40 degrees, Hoffman said.

Meanwhile, wintry weather could snarl traffic in places around the country. A strong storm expected to drop up to a foot of snow in parts of Colorado and Wyoming prompted airlines on Tuesday to issue travel alerts. The National Weather Service issued blizzard and wintry weather warnings from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes.

The storm could bring a chance of snow this weekend in interior New England, said Alex Lamers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “That could be a coast-to-coast storm,” he said. 

The Thanksgiving Day Parade, slated to begin at 9 a.m., occurs rain or shine, officials said. Thursday's forecast calls for winds to reach 20 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 to 40 mph, said meteorologist Jim Connolly of the National Weather Service's office in Upton.

Based on city guidelines, no giant character balloon can be operated when sustained winds exceed 23 mph with gusts exceeding 34 mph on the route, according to a news release from Macy's.

Parade officials said it was too early to tell whether the gargantuan inflatables would fly or not. That decision will be made on the ground at the parade,  with input from the NYPD and Macy's officials working with a licensed meteorologist in contact with the National Weather Service, the news release said.

Connolly said the strongest winds were expected during the afternoon Thursday, but it remained unclear whether the earlier winds that day would be strong enough to ground the inflatables.  

Thursday's temperature is expected to hover in the low 50s, he added, though the winds could make it feel colder. The lows overnight Thursday could reach the upper 20s.

Friday brings mild weather with temperatures heading back down into the 40s. A sunny, breezy day will lead to a clear, cold night, with lows between 25 to 30 degrees, Hoffman said.

Morning sunshine will give way to afternoon clouds on Saturday, with highs in the mid-40s. The temperature may dip below freezing overnight, which could bring a wintry mix of rain and snow toward the morning, Hoffman said.

For Sunday, the first day of December, forecasters are keeping their eye on a possible coastal storm. A wintry mix is expected to become cold rain during the day. Some snow accumulation may occur Sunday night, but it is unclear how much, Connelly said.

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