niagara falls brown storm

The Ontario winter storm was so brutal it turned Niagara Falls completely brown

The Great Lakes churned with waves in the 30-footer region as a monster storm struck over the Christmas weekend, and particularly violent conditions on Lake Erie resulted in an odd spectacle, turning the typically turquoise cascade of water over Niagara Falls a murky shade of brown.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Ontario tweeted on Christmas Eve that "The ongoing storm has turned the waters of the falls chocolate brown," attributing the churning brown waters to "debris being washed down the Niagara River."

The brief statement is accompanied by an aerial view captured from the live webcam atop the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel, showing a torrent of muddy brown waters rushing over the falls and into the Lower Niagara River.

Others captured similar screenshots from the hotel webcam throughout the day, as a sustained flow of debris from the storm muddied Lake Erie and its raging flow out over the falls toward Lake Ontario.

This was not a short-term phenomenon, as the brown water persisted for days after the worst of the storm, drawing confused onlookers.

Even on Dec. 28, the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel webcam shows that the normal turquoise shade of the Falls β€” its intensified blue hue the product of rock flour suspended in the water β€” has yet to return.

Tourists visiting the natural wonder today will still see a murky shade pouring over the Niagara Escarpment, but that's not the only remnant of the big storm still visible several days later.

A series of photos show the up-close impacts of the monster storm on the American side of the falls, where infrastructure, including viewing platforms, have been encased in ice.

Temperatures will see a spike into the positive single digits this week across the region from Toronto to Buffalo, though there are undoubtedly more big storms looming in the months to come.

Lead photo by Sheraton Fallsview Hotel



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