Niagara Falls frozen solid? Sorry – Once again it appears as if media outlets are running with a story about the thunderous Niagara Falls freezing over and solidifying like a garden hose left on in the winter. That would be an incredible story; a wonder of the modern world being brought to a sub-zero, glacial halt by the chilled grip of the Polar Vortex.
Except that it’s not true.
The Daily Mail ran a story today entitled Niagara Falls comes to a halt AGAIN: Millions of gallons of cascading water is frozen in bitter temperatures, and then of course linked a video showing the waters moving just fine. (OK, it is a UK based site, but they report on all things US too.)
To be sure, giant ice formations created by the falling waters are certainly a thing of beauty. And credit goes to the Daily Mail for running some stunning pictures, but rest assured, the Falls have not been brought to a stop.
In early January, the Washington Post reported the same goofy thing, and most readers of the Post would expect a little more common sense from their editing team.
Nevertheless, I corrected them, much as I am having to do now, writing:
Flow rates over the 167 foot cataracts are far too enormous to be frozen solid. More than six million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost four million cubic feet falls on average. That’s about 76,000 gallon per second.
In other words, way too much to actually be brought to an iced up stand-still.
The Daily Mail wasn’t the only media outlet to get it wrong. A Bing search for “Niagara Falls frozen” turns up dozens of offenders, but when the temps are in the single digits for as long as they have been in the Buffalo / Niagara area, the Falls may just as well be frozen.
Everything else is.