New York (AP) -- Did you know there's a world-wide shortage of helium?
But it's not going to affect this week's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Officials at Macy's say their allotment of helium was set aside before the shortage began. So, Snoopy, Garfield, Dora the Explorer and the other gigantic balloons will have all the helium the need to float down Broadway.
The helium shortage is caused by a couple of factors. Three refining plants in Qatar and Algeria have been off-line, even as demand has increased.
And supplies may be further restricted this month because of scheduled maintenance at a Texas facility.
In the past, the Macy's Parade has used as much as 400,000 cubic feet of helium to propel the balloons along the two and a-half-mile route. Organizers say they won't be using quite as much this year, simply because there aren't as many giant balloons.
Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.