Over the Christmas weekend, western New York was paralysed by a relentless storm that authorities dubbed the “blizzard of the century”. The extreme weather that gripped the United States over several days, caused widespread power outages, travel delays and several deaths. Several images and videos have surfaced on social media describing ferocious conditions, particularly in Buffalo, where bodies were discovered in vehicles and under snow banks.
Now, a video of Niagara Falls covered in ice has surfaced on the internet. Due to the recent wave of sub-zero temperatures that has gripped the region, the falls have been transformed into a partially frozen winter wonderland. While parts of the falls were frozen, the sheer volume of water that gushes over, combined with the constant movement of the raging liquid, ensures that they almost never completely freeze, the New York Post said.
Was it an intriguing and surreal Arctic experience for a kid from California, yes! pic.twitter.com/MAC8IIfjZc
— Escondido Weather Observer (CoCoRaHs: CA-SD-197) (@KCAESCON230) December 23, 2022
“During particularly cold temperatures, the mist and spray begin to form a crust of ice over top of the rushing water, making it appear as though the Falls have in fact stopped. However, the water continues to flow underneath the sheets of ice,” says the Niagara Parks website.
According to the Niagara Falls New York State Park, around 3,160 tonnes of water flows over Niagara Falls every second. It is falling at a rate of 32 feet per second.
Prior to 1964, ice could obstruct the flow of water further upstream, causing the volume of water on the US side of the Falls to freeze. This happened five times before steel ice-booms were installed to prevent large ice accumulations.
Ice and snow frequently form over the Niagara River at the base of the falls during particularly cold winters, forming an “ice bridge”. Authorities prohibited people from walking on the ice bridge after three people died when ice broke loose and tossed them into the Niagara River on February 4, 1912, as per the Post.
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