Niagara Falls…No Longer Falling?

Record shattering temperatures for a prolonged period have turned the Niagra Falls into a frozen (some say beautiful) mountain of ice nearly 50 feet thick. Freezing a behemoth such as the Niagara Falls, one of the wonders of the world, is no easy feat. The unusually frigid weather in New York and southern Canada has apparently caused the top layer of Niagara Falls to freeze, albeit with the water underneath never actually freezing.

Straddling the international border between the United States and Canada, Niagara Falls is made up of the collection of three waterfalls with the largest standing a staggering height of 188 feet tall and a crest line of almost 2,200 feet. The combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world.  Tourists from all over the world come to see both the American and Canadian side every year.

 Tim Morrin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said on February 21st that what is actually happening is a confluence of events that are feeding into one another. Extremely cold arctic air would expand the ice covered area in the days ahead. The frigid air and the “polar vortex” have affected roughly 240 million people in the United States, here by creating a frozen American Falls in Ontario. For the second year in a row the nearly frozen spectacle have caused sightseers to flock in from all over.

 An ice bridge has even formed along the Niagara river between the U.S. and Canada.

All the way up until 1912, the frozen river was enjoyed by many tourists as a place to go sledding and walk on. But fast moving water beneath the ice often caused it to break up suddenly, resulting in the death of three people. Stepping on the ice is strictly forbidden since the accident. An exception was made though last month for two Canadian ice climbers who became the first to climb a 30 foot tall section of the Horseshoe falls.