Niagara Falls ‘freezes’ as big chill grips Eastern US (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
The water of the majestic falls themselves has yet to succumb to the polar winds, but the surrounding area has been transformed into a winter wonderland as temperatures plummet across Canada and the US, dropping to -34 degrees Fahrenheit in parts and dropping further to -89 degrees (-67 Celsius) when windchill is factored in.
The weather has wreaked havoc on US roads, with Michigan alone reporting up to 30 crashes due to the recent icy conditions, including a major pile-up involving at least 40 vehicles reports WGN.
An 83-year old woman died of exposure in South Dakota after her car broke down and she went to search for help. Three people also died in Lake Eerie after their car slid off an icy road into a canal reports the LA Times.
#GOESEast satellite captured record-breaking #LakeEffectSnow fall in Erie, Pennsylvania which dumped over 5 feet, 65.1" of #snow as reported by @NWS in total over some areas. More images: https://t.co/mbgRYot60A#GOES16#ItsSoColdpic.twitter.com/JhIPWk0CFZ— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) December 28, 2017
Polar winds from the Arctic are being blamed for the precipitous drop in temperatures over the past week.
A satellite view of the cold and snowy eastern US, seen by #GOES16 (now #GOESEast). Note the snow cutoff line from central Missouri into Pennsylvania. More imagery: https://t.co/mbgRYot60A#ItsSoCold#WinterIsHerepic.twitter.com/OyFdr6btOB— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) December 28, 2017
Residents from as far south as Tennessee and South Carolina all the way to Maine in the northeastern US have been warned to exercise extreme caution during the big freeze. Maine Governor Paul LePage declared a state of emergency to allow heating oil providers to work beyond federal limits to ensure residents stay warm.
During this cold snap with record-low temperatures, our oil delivery drivers need to be on the roads so Mainers can heat their homes. I've issued the necessary emergency declaration to keep Maine residents warm this holiday weekend. Take care in the cold. https://t.co/mXbFY0urdG— Paul R. LePage (@Governor_LePage) December 29, 2017
In North Dakota, typically among the coldest states in the US each year, temperatures are expected to plunge to -30 F (-34.4 C) Saturday with a wind chill of about -50 F (-45.5 C) according to meteorologist Ken Simosko, as cited by The Mirror.
Very cold temperatures and bitter wind chills continue to impact much of the Central and northern U.S.. Arctic air will move into portions of the south and southeast through this weekend. pic.twitter.com/TqLRxAqOuV— NWS (@NWS) December 30, 2017
Even marine life is falling victim to the extreme cold with sharks reportedly dying from shock due to the drop in temperature.