Cold turns Niagara Falls into icy winter wonderland

A frozen Niagara Falls is seen in views from Stedman's Bluff on Goat Island of the American Falls and Prospect Point beyond. Almost every year frigid temperatures transform Niagara Falls State Park into an icy winter wonderland when the mist of the falls is blown back, freezing on the landscape. (The Niagara Gazette via AP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Cold turns Niagara Falls into icy winter wonderland

NIAGARA FALLS, New York: Niagara Falls is one place the nation’s deep freeze is as much seen as it is felt.
Mist from the surging waters has been freezing instantly on everything it touches, coating trees, walkways, cliffs and overlooks in a dreamy, brilliant white. Visitors hardy enough to withstand the bone-chilling cold are treated to snapshots and selfies in a winter wonderland.
“It’s outstanding. As cold as it gets, it’s a year-round attraction,” Paul Tabaczynski said during a visit to see the spectacle on Tuesday. A Buffalo native, he lives in Dallas now but remembered to dress in layers — flannel over a T-shirt and a lined sweatshirt that passes for his winter jacket in Texas.
Although everything around them freezes, the three waterfalls that make up the natural attraction between the US and Canada continue to flow and churn up the frosty mist. The westerly wind usually blows it toward the US side, National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Welch said, where the moisture wraps every inch of the landscape in white.
“I can’t feel my feet!” 12-year-old Keila Cruz told her father, Jonathan, as she and a dozen other family members thawed out inside the Niagara Falls State Park visitor center during a trip from Deltona, Florida.
“We haven’t even gone out yet,” Jonathan Cruz said. The family had only come from the parking lot about 200 yards away, but with temperatures in the teens and wind gusting over 40 miles per hour, the group needed a warming break before venturing to the water’s edge.
“We’re trying to get our feet warm because we’re frozen,” Jonathan Cruz said.
With a deep freeze stretching from south Texas to Canada and from Montana through New England, the surreal scenes have played out across a wide swath of the US.
Fountains froze in Texarkana, Arkansas, New York City’s Bryant Park — and even Savannah, Georgia, where January’s average high is 60 degrees (16 Celsius). The thermometer read 30 (-1 Celsius) on Tuesday, cold enough for icicles to dangle from the ornate wrought-iron fountain in Forsyth Park.
Chunks of ice floated down the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan made “ice balls” with its rolling waves. As of Monday, ice cover on the Great Lakes was at 19.7 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Forecasters warned of hazardous travel from the southeast to New England through Friday, with the worst expected from the Carolinas to Maine. The bitter cold will linger into the weekend.
Tim Partin of Williamsburg, Kentucky, was in Niagara Falls on business when he decided to take in the scenery.
“It really is pretty,” Partin said.


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 22 July 2018
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.