America’s cold snap, in epic pictures

Niagara Falls, frozen.
Niagara Falls, frozen.
Image: Reuters/Lindsay DeDario
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The weather gods have not smiled on much of the United States this week.

A massive cold front has descended over the eastern half of the country, leading to temperatures 25 to 45 degrees below average. It’s so cold that Niagara Falls has frozen, forming massive mounds of ice at the base of the waterfall.

In the early morning on Feb. 19, temperatures dropped to -41 degrees Fahrenheit in Embarrass, Minnesota (town motto: “The Cold Spot”)—the most frigid in the US. It was 8 degrees in Washington, DC, -15 in Minneapolis and -10 in Chicago.

In Greenville, North Carolina, it was cold enough to freeze water melted on the hood of a jeep into an icy imprint that stood even after the vehicle had left:

In Chicago, Lake Michigan turned to a frozen icescape:

Steam rises over Lake Michigan near the Chicago skyline, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures plummeting into the single digits around the U.S., with wind chills driving them even lower. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
Steam rises over Lake Michigan.
Image: AP/Teresa Crawford

And along the “beach” in Chicago:

In Boston, it was a comparably balmy 14 degrees this morning. But then, of course, there’s the snow: With 97 inches of snowfall, it is already the city’s second-snowiest winter ever. What’s 97 inches of snow look like? Like this:

Though the city is actually functioning fairly well—the subway is running with limited service—it’s been a rough stretch, prompting Boston mayor Marty Walsh to basically throw up his hands last week:

But take heart, eastern folk: According to the National Weather Service, “after Friday, temperatures are forecast to moderate and get closer to February averages.”