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Winds: Winds are obviously the most critical weather phenomena that effects balloons. Winds are the #1 reason that Balloon Flights are canceled. Balloons fly best with wind speeds ranging from 4 to 6 miles per hour. Balloons will never fly in winds higher than 12 mph.
When surface winds are calm, hot air balloon ride pilots can control the altitude of the balloon very finely by heating or venting the air inside. During the day these light surface winds are broken up by "thermals" These are rising columns of warm air that spiral skywards, caused by the heating effect of the sun on the ground.