We may not experience the frozen Falls in a literal sense again. Historically, huge drifts of ice would float from Lake Erie along the Niagara River each winter, wreaking havoc to both power diversions and local infrastructure. But beginning in 1964, a massive floating device called an “ice boom” was created at the source of the river to not only to control any potential damage caused by floating ice, but also to put a stop to any more historic blockages along the river and the Falls. The 1.7-mile-long boom, which is located between Buffalo and Fort Erie (on the lake’s Canadian shores), is made of floating steel pontoons that all ensure the flow volume continues to rush down the Niagara River, preventing the likelihood of any epic big freeze at the Falls again.
3. The big freeze is all down to the flow.
Compared to a 50% flow during the summer, in the winter, 75% of the water flowing from Lake Erie along the Niagara River is diverted to hydro-electric stations before the Falls, flowing back into the lower Niagara downriver. But despite that decrease in volume, some 20 million gallons still swoosh over the Falls every minute — a phenomenal flow for Mother Nature to reduce to ice. Even when temperatures drop to 32 degrees, the kinetic energy created by the flowing water means the water stays fluid and would require an unprecedented temperature drop to truly freeze the Falls again.