Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
The American Falls at the side of Niagara Falls is pictured in Ontario on Jan. 8.AARON HARRIS / Reuters

While frigid air and the polar vortex affected approximately 240 million people in the United States and southern Canada this week, photographs of a partially frozen Niagara Falls caused a flurry on social media.

Recent temperatures in the Niagara Falls area have been cooler than average this year, but ice accumulation on the falls is far from uncommon, said Alan Raymond, digital meteorologist at the Weather Channel.

“It happens every single year,” he said, adding that ice typically forms around the top of the falls and surrounding rocks due to freezing mist.

The photos sparked social media frenzy after some incorrect reports indicated that Niagara Falls was completely frozen solid.

The photos show ice accumulation, but also reveal flowing water. Raymond said ice has never totally halted the falls.

“That’s never happened in the history of the falls, it has never completely frozen over,” Raymond said, adding that either way, the photographs offered great insight into Niagara Falls in winter.

The frozen mist from Niagara Falls coats the landscape around Prospect Point at Niagara Falls State Park. The Polar Vortex brought high winds and frigid temperatures to the area Tuesday. (Photo by James Neiss/Niagara Gazette)JAMES NEISS / Niagara Gazette via AP
The Rainbow Bridge shown in Niagara Falls, Ontario on Jan. 8.AARON HARRIS / Reuters