Nation & World

Freezing temperatures transform Niagara Falls into a winter wonderland

As a deep freeze across the Midwest and East Coast has dropped temperatures, wreaked havoc on highways and forced cancellations of many New Year’s celebrations, the frigid weather has also made one of the world’s most beautiful tourist destinations an even more remarkable sight than usual.

Niagara Falls partially froze starting Friday, as seen in breathtaking photos and videos, many of them posted to social media.

Though appearing frozen, the river is actually running as normal and is not what’s freezing over – rather, mist from the waterfalls freezes as it lands on its surroundings, according to the Buffalo News. Nonetheless, the result is an icy spectacle, described by commenters on Twitter as “surreal,” “amazing” and other superlatives.

The massive trio of waterfalls straddling the Canada-New York border was formed by glacial activity more than 10,000 years ago. It’s been a tourism hotspot (in both countries) since the 19th century, according to Niagara Falls Tourism claims that about 12 million tourists visit the destination every year.

The record-setting deep freeze, affecting about half the U.S., is the result of a blast of Arctic air, and is expected to continue into the first week of January.

Niagara’s winter wonderland seems to be a welcome bright side to extreme conditions that have already harmed people, dogs and even sharks.