Niagara Falls Frozen or Not?

Niagara Falls in winter

Just recently reports have been covering the web showing pictures of what appears to be Niagara Falls frozen, though now many reports show that these images are not realistic and the Niagara Falls is not actually completely frozen over. Every year the beauty of the Niagara Falls brings an estimated 12 million tourists and while many of those tourists go during the winter season to see the winter wonderland that the water and mist of the falls bring to the surrounding area, unfortunately, tourists have not seen a completely frozen falls in many years.

According to the information provided by geologists who care for the Niagara Falls State Park, the park has not actually been completely frozen over since the year 1949. Many question this information stating that the falls froze over in the year 2007 but with such a large body of water it may be nearly impossible for Mother Nature to completely ice it.

Despite the recent pictures provided that seem to show Niagara Falls completely frozen over it has not been confirmed that the temperatures which are recently averaging between 19 and 23 degrees are cold enough to cause such a massive freeze. In fact, according to Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post temperatures in the past have been much colder than that and have still not caused a complete freeze of the Niagara Falls.

Why? Within its massive flow of water the Niagara Falls carries 3,160 tons of per second rushing at high speed. While this amount can vary depending on season, time of day, and control of water, the amount and length of cold weather that it would take to freeze all three parts that make up the Niagara Falls would need to be extreme. According to Facts About Niagara Falls, in 1936 the temperature was two degrees below and lasted for 15 days in order to freeze the falls.

In order for the Niagara Falls to be completely frozen the base of the Falls, known as the ice bridge, must freeze, which it does every year; but then Lake Erie would have to completely freeze, stopping the flow to the Falls. Glaciers of ice would have to build up starting from the base of the waterfall enough to reduce the flow of water to just a trickle. If that happened the falls would then completely freeze. Geologists know this because this is the process that has caused the falls to freeze completely in the past.

Word around the web is that the polar vortex which has brought about harsh freezing conditions for the north of the U.S. and south of Canada is what caused the Niagara Falls to freeze over in the first place.  The weather has been extremely cold and somewhat unusual for the area residents say they have seen colder.

It is true, according to park officials, that the Niagara Falls and surrounding state park are partially frozen due to cold temperatures. This is a very beautiful site to see, attracting tourists from all over the world.

Niagara Falls Park

While the Niagara Falls may not be completely frozen, this year is as good as any to take a trip to see the beauty of the partially frozen waterfall. Although, due to the extreme weather, travel plans may not be advised. According to Facts about Niagara Falls, though, the partially frozen falls could last until February, as it has many seasons before.

By Crystal Boulware

Facts about Niagara Falls
The Washington Post
International Business Times