The record-breaking chill across the US and Canada was so frigid it literally stopped Niagara Falls in its tracks. A collection of spectacular photographs have shown the moment the US side of the famous falls froze before they could reach the bottom. Thankfully, the freezing air and 'polar vortex' that turned the cascading water to ice, and affected about 240 million people in the US and southern Canada, will depart during the second half of this week, and a far-reaching January thaw will begin.
The US side of the Niagara Falls in Ontario
The Rainbow Bridge is seen with solid ice below it
The big thaw begins: FROZEN BODIES found in snow as temperatures begin to rise after brutal 'polar vortex' leaves 21 dead and 11,000 flights grounded. Brave first-time mother delivers baby daughter ALONE because she was stranded during massive snowstorm. A day of record-setting cold in Niagara, with the mercury bottoming out at a chilling -2F. Combined with the wind chills, it felt like -20F. One would think the icy cold would keep tourists away, but those who enjoy taking photos rugged up to snap the conditions, producing exceptional images they wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to capture. The natural wonder should be looking more like itself come Saturday when temperatures are forecast to be in the 50s, according to Environment Canada.Polar Vortex turns Niagara Falls into a frozen wonderland.
Frozen mist coating the landscape around Prospect Point at Niagara Falls State Park
The record-breaking temperature didn't deter visitors
Tourists still visit the landmark to take pictures overlooking the falls in Ontario
The 'unprecedented' amounts of ice in the upper Niagara River, caused by the freezing conditions, caused a so-called ice jam and in turn flooding on Grand Island and Cayuga Island in Niagara Falls. According to historical records, during only one year, 1848, has freezing weather caused the thousands of cubic feet of water per second flowing over the Niagara Falls to run dry, an event thought to have been caused by ice jamming and damming upriver. Ice bridges spanning the Niagara River from bank to bank have formed as a result of various other chilly winters. In 1936, the American Falls, the shallower of the three waterfalls, are said to have frozen over completely. In 1912, an ice bridge broke apart as several people were crossing it, sending three to their deaths.
The iconic falls are seen flowing normally in the summer
One of the earliest images showing a frozen Niagara Falls, in sepia tones, is thought to be from 1911 or 1912, though skeptics have questioned its authenticity because its photographer is unknown.
This image of an icy falls is believed to be from 1890 or 1902
A view of the Niagara Falls frozen over due to the extreme cold weather, Ontario, Canada. The Arctic blast brought record cold temperatures to US and Canada. It may be hard to believe, but the gushing waters that make up Niagara Falls froze. At least partially. It’s actually not that uncommon: The falls freeze every winter, and the arctic blast helped them along. Even the bitter cold didn’t stop tourists from viewing the falls, however. The temperatures makes Niagara beautiful in an entirely different way, with the waters frozen in time and the notorious mist from the falls blanketing the surrounding area in a thick, white frost. We’ve all heard the stories of tourists riding down the falls in wooden barrels in the early 1900s. But did you know that in the past when the falls were frozen, visitors were allowed to walk across the falls on the “ice bridge” created by extreme cold. This dangerous activity was banned after three tourists died when the ice cracked on February 4, 1912.