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America’s cold snap, in epic pictures

A partially frozen American Falls in sub freezing temperatures is seen in Niagara Falls, Ontario February 17, 2015. Temperature dropped to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 Celsius) on Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued Wind Chill Warning in Western New York from midnight Wednesday to Friday. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario (CANADA - Tags: TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT) - RTR4Q3VY
Reuters/Lindsay DeDario
Niagara Falls, frozen.
By Zach Wener-Fligner

2014-15 Fellow. Quartz Things team.

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

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:

AP/Teresa Crawford
Steam rises over Lake Michigan.

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.”

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