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Friday, 1 February 2019

Niagara Falls partially freezes as deadly polar vortex hits north-east America after blasting the Midwest with record-breaking lows of -30F and leaving at least 21 dead

Niagara Falls freezes over as deadly polar vortex hits the Northeast
The polar vortex has turned Niagara Falls into a spectacular winter wonderland as it bears down on the Northeast. Temperatures dropped to -4F in Ontario, Canada, on Thursday as tourists observed large chunks of ice flowing over the tremendous volume of water. Ice and snow could also be seen on plants surrounding the American, Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls. Breathtaking images show the ice formations created by the falling water and mist along the banks of the falls and river. Steam was seen rising up from the Falls because the water temperature is warmer than the freezing air. And though some photos show what looks like frozen solid Falls, the water actually never stops flowing

However strange, a Twitter user insists that the toilet bowl did explode and that she saw it on a local Reddit feed
 A toilet bowl that exploded because the water froze inside. However strange, a Twitter user insists that the toilet bowl did explode and that she saw it on a Reddit feed

Though some people were able to make light of the extreme cold, the polar vortex that paralyzed the Midwest this week was nothing to play around with. 

At least 13 people were killed in weather-related deaths throughout the week and tens of millions more were left shivering as temperatures plunged to record-breaking lows. 

The painfully cold weather system that put much of the Midwest into a historic deep freeze lingered on Thursday and continued to break historic records with parts of Illinois and Iowa recording temperatures of -38F and -30F respectively. 

The frigid conditions canceled more than 2,300 flights and over 1,500 delays on Thursday, while the number of deaths blamed on the cold climbed to 13.

Chicago's temperature dropped to a low of around -21F on Thursday, slightly above the city's lowest-ever reading of -27F in January 1985. Milwaukee's low was -25F. Minneapolis recorded -24F, and wind chills were as low as -38F, an improvement from a day earlier. 


Rockford, Illinois, saw a record low temperature of -31F on Thursday, while Cedar Rapids, Iowa, set a daily record low of -30F. 


One man said it was so cold in his home that the water in his toilet froze

The extreme cold also settled in over the Northeast on Thursday. In western New York, a storm that dumped up to 20 inches of snow gave way to subzero temperatures and dangerous wind chills. 

The arctic conditions caused problems from Buffalo to Brooklyn, where about 200 firefighters battling an early morning blaze in a commercial building took turns getting warm on buses. 

The phenomenon caused surreal scenes throughout the region, including Lake Michigan freezing over, parts of Niagara Falls solidifying into frozen stillness and blocks of ice covering the river in downtown Chicago.

At its worst, the cold snap caused temperatures to plunge to -42F on Wednesday across the Midwest. 

The bitter cold was caused by displacement of the polar vortex, a stream of air that normally spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole but whose current was disrupted.  

An aerial view of Chicago on Thursday shows just how much ice built up along the shore of Lake Michigan as temperatures  dipped to below -20F during the past two days
An aerial view of Chicago on Thursday shows just how much ice built up along the shore of Lake Michigan as temperatures dipped to below -20F during the past two days

It pushed eastward and states including Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania were experiencing bitterly cold temperatures Thursday.

The prospect of a weekend break offered little comfort to those enduring icy conditions, brutal winds and temperatures. 

By the weekend, Chicago, which experienced near-record cold on Wednesday and Thursday, was expected to bask in snow-melting highs in the mid-40s to low 50s Fahrenheit. So will other parts of the Midwest. 

The deep freeze has caused more than a dozen deaths since Saturday with some dying in weather-related traffic accidents and others from freezing to death. 

The body of an 18-year-old pre-med student, Gerald Belz, was found in the freezing cold at the University of Iowa at 3am on Wednesday.  The National Weather Service said the wind chill in Iowa at the time he was found was negative 51F degrees. 

Police found a man's body across the street from his home in the Detroit area on Wednesday. He was not wearing a hat or gloves and wasn't dressed for below-zero temperatures. 

A 70-year-old man was also found dead in Detroit in front of a neighbor's home on Wednesday.

Lake Michigan froze over and the city of Chicago was blanketed in ice after days of recording-breaking low temperatures
Lake Michigan froze over and the city of Chicago was blanketed in ice after days of recording-breaking low temperatures


Mist rises from the Chicago River on Wednesday as tens of millions continue to face freezing temperatures 
Mist rises from the Chicago River on Wednesday as tens of millions continue to face freezing temperatures 

The Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis were completely frozen over on Thursday following the cold spell
The Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis were completely frozen over on Thursday following the cold spell

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