FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — A Wind Advisory issued by the National Weather Service for southern Fairfield County could be bad news for the big balloon parade set to step off at noon on Sunday in Stamford.
The weather service is warning of strong winds from 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday across the entire region.
Westerly winds will be 25 to 35 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph — which is too strong for the big balloons.
The winds will be strong enough to blow down trees, limbs and power lines, the weather service warns. Minor property damage and scattered power outages are possible and can also make driving difficult.
The threshold for the huge balloons to fly in the UBS Parade Spectacular in Stamford is 25 mph — anything higher is not safe, according to organizers. If the predicted winds occur, the parade will step off — but without the 15 giant balloons that are its trademark.
Sandy Goldstein, president of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, said she's praying for good weather for the parade that draws the largest crowd of any one-day activity in the state.
"It is a must-do thing for kids in the region," she said.
Goldstein said a decision on marching with the 15 balloons will be made Sunday morning, a few hours before the parade is scheduled to start.
But regardless of the balloons, she promised that the parade will step off, with spectators able to enjoy the bands, floats, dancers and, of course, Santa Claus.
The starting point is at the intersection of Summer and Hoyt Streets. The parade continues down Summer Street and makes a left on to Broad Street and then a right on to Atlantic Street where it ends at 400 Atlantic St.
Overall, the weather won't be very spectator friendly. Overnight rain will give way to a windy Sunday, with a chance of more rain and even snow with a high temperature of near 43 degrees.
A chance of rain and snow showers continue into the even, with low of about 30 degrees and wind chill values between 20 and 25 degrees.
On Monday, there is a 20 percent chance of snow showers before 11 a.m. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 43 but with wind chill values between 25 and 30. Breezy conditions will continue, with a west wind of 25 mph and gusts as high as 45 mph.
Monday night will be mostly cloudy, with a low near freezing.