Voices from Russia

Saturday, 11 January 2014

11 January 2014. A Note From Your Indefatigable Editor… Niagara Falls DOESN’T Freeze Solid, Even in Cold Snaps

00 Frozen Niagara Falls. Canada. 11.01.14

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As I live in upstate New York, I might know a thing or two about local winters. Yes, it does get plenty cold. It always does. There’s always freezing on the rivers, and the spring thaw is always dicey as a result. The farther you go from the sea, the colder it gets. That’s why Albany’s winters are relatively mild for the region, and why the St Lawrence Valley is better off than some areas farther from the ocean winds. Of course, winters in the Upper Midwest and on the Canadian Prairies are the most brutal, leading to bumper stickers in Fargo and Edmonton reading, “40 Below Keeps the Riff-Raff Out”.

I know people in the Buffalo area… they all tell me that Niagara Falls NEVER freezes completely, even though winters are always Siberian-grade. A state trooper told me that they’re always on the lookout for nutters who try to walk across the ice… it never freezes “solid” (there’s always water underneath), so, this makes winter “interesting” for them. He said, “I don’t mind summer, it’s just crowds, drunks, and a few scuffles. Winter… you’ve got to keep an eye out at all times for idiots trying to walk on the ice. It’s dangerous, we fish out a body every winter, it seems”. Niagara Falls freezing solid is an urban legend, along with cats in the microwave and alligators in the sewers.

Oh, yes… Niagara Falls did “stop” once, in the 1840s. However, that was due to ice floes on the Niagara River, NOT the Falls freezing solid. That’s the only time that happened in historical memory. Sorry, kids…

BMD 

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