Niagara Falls, one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world, has transformed into a partially frozen winter wonderland due to the recent sub-zero temperatures and relentless storm that hit western New York over the Christmas weekend, causing widespread power outages, travel delays, and several deaths.
There is now a new name for Niagara Falls
Authorities dubbed it the “blizzard of the century”. Images and videos of the extreme weather conditions have been surfacing on social media. The scariest of them are from Buffalo, where dead bodies were discovered in vehicles and under snow banks.
Still a Mesmerizing Sight Even in such Freezing Cold
But despite the freezing temperatures, the falls remain a mesmerizing sight. The sheer volume of water gushing over the falls ensures that they almost never completely freeze. According to the Niagara Falls New York State Park, around 3,160 tonnes of water flow over the falls every second. The falling speed is 32 feet per second. While parts of the falls may have an ice cover, the constant movement of the water means that it continues to flow underneath the sheets of ice.
Exploring the Fascinating History of the Frozen Wonder
In particularly cold winters, ice and snow may form over the Niagara River at the base of the falls. It creates an “ice bridge”. However, there is a prohibition on access to the ice bridge due to safety concerns. On February 4, 1912, three persons lost their lives when ice came away and hurled them into the Niagara River.
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Prior to 1964, ice accumulation could obstruct the flow of water further upstream. This causes the volume of water on the US side of the falls to freeze. To prevent this from happening, steel ice booms came into the picture.
Despite the freezing temperatures, Niagara Falls remains a popular tourist destination. Visitors flock to see the partially frozen falls and experience the beauty of the winter wonderland. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, make sure to bundle up and stay safe if you plan on visiting the falls during this cold snap.