The Internet is buzzing this week with dramatic photos of what appears to be Niagara Falls completely frozen over. But like so many things on the Internet, the photos may not be exactly as they seem.
I’ll show you some of the dramatic photos along with the truth of what’s really going on with Niagara Falls.
Visitors are flocking to see the frozen falls, but in reality they're not completely frozen. Yes, plunging temperatures have created stunning ice flows over the falls, but some of their descriptions may be a bit misleading.
Temperatures have dipped to 13 below in the region, causing sheets of the famous waterfall to freeze over. But the water is still flowing, out of sight of eyes, under the sheets. So it's not really frozen solid, but it is undeniably beautiful.
Niagara Falls won't be warming up anytime soon. For the next seven days, the high is projected get only to 4 below zero. It will actually be sunny a couple of days this weekend and early next week, but still incredibly cold.
The falls have frozen completely over only once in recorded history, according to Internet myth-busting site Snopes. In March 1848, ice upstream of the falls slowed the flow to a trickle. Finally, overnight, the last bit of flowing water froze.
It's not quite that solid this time, but it's frozen enough that a daring soul climbed up the ice recently.
Photographer Christine Hess took some beautiful photos of the American side of the falls. She was courteous enough to let me share them with you.
This beautiful rainbow effect was due to spotlights turned on the falls. They routinely catch the lovely sight of millions of gallons of water tumbling over the rocks, but with the Arctic Blast in full effect, the colors bathe ice and snow.
“There’s something about shooting the falls that leaves me mesmerized. I could walk down there for hours with my camera and never tire of the scenery, I’m in my own little world down there,” Hess told CBS Pittsburgh.
See more of Christine's wonderful photography on her Facebook page here.
Update 3/3/2015: Our friend Christine Hess has posted more beautiful Niagara Falls photos on her Facebook page here. These are some of the most amazing:
Have you ever seen anything this beautiful before? Tell me about it in the comments section!