Are Frozen Views of Niagara Falls Unusual?

Stunning photos of a frozen Niagara Falls are cascading across the Internet, but experts say that the winter phenomena is surprisingly common.

The U.S. side of the Niagara Falls covered in ice on Wednesday.


Niagara Falls looks stunning covered in ice. Onlookers in Ontario and New York are marveling at the site of the frozen falls, spreading pictures widely across the social media landscape.

But while the photographs look beautiful, the ice-laden waterfall is not all that surprising, at least according to one meteorologist.

"The falls aren't frozen over," says John Rozbicki, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "There might be some ice on it, but the water is going to continue to flow underneath."

According to Rozbicki, Niagara Falls has too much water to completely freeze over. But it has on several occasions formed an ice bridge over the lake, which is located beneath the waterfalls.

Ice Bridge Tragedy

Historically, visitors were allowed to walk across these ice bridges, until one unexpectedly separated in 1912 and killed three people, according to the local NBC affiliate, WGRZ.

Ice bridges are uncommon, and—even with the polar vortex—it was not cold enough to create a bridge this week. (See also: "Science Behind 3 Viral Polar Vortex Videos: Instant Snow, Ice Fog, Frozen Bubbles.")

But despite disappointing fans of ice bridges, the recent bout of cold weather has produced a stunning array of winter photographs. Here are some of the best ones from social media users:

Captured a great photo of Niagara Falls? We invite you to send it in to our Your Shot community.

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