Over the past week, a polar vortex has descended into the United States, bringing temperatures well below normal for certain parts of the country.
A polar vortex is a strong circulation of winds that normally rotate around the north pole. When distorted, it can dip farther south than normal, which is exactly what has happened lately.
Although this polar low-pressure system has caused many problems – frozen pipes, electric outages – it has also produced some beautiful natural wonders.
Though water is still flowing through certain portions, much of Niagara Falls has been frozen in huge sheets of ice and icicles.
— euronews (@euronews) January 9, 2014
On Tuesday, the high around the 167-foot falls, which straddle the border between the United States and Canada, was minus 2 degrees, a record low temperature.
According to Yahoo News, this is not the first time parts of Niagara Falls have frozen. A picture dating back to around the early 1900s arose around 2003 showing the frozen falls with people on the ice. Though some have questioned the authenticity of this photo, it is a fact that until 1912, tourists were allowed to walk on the “ice bridge” that forms across the river during deep freezes. However, that year, three people died when the bridge collapsed, making it the last time anyone was permitted to do so.
According the Environmental Graffiti, historical records do show that Niagara Falls “ran dry” in 1848 during freezing weather (perhaps due to ice jamming up river) and in 1936, the falls were said to have frozen over completely.
Niagara Falls should completely thaw in the next few days when temperatures around the area reach 46 degrees.
Image via YouTube