What Does This Mean?
Well, the lifting of the Niagara River Ice Boom means that all signs point to Springtime! The ice boom is a series of 22 steel cables spanned across the Niagara River that are anchored to the river bottom. Each Winter the ice boom has been installed at the eastern end of Lake Erie and extends about 2680 metres from the breakwall at Buffalo Harbor to the Canadian shore. It’s installed in order to reduce ice blockages in the river that can cause flooding and damage to the docks. The ice boom get installed when the temperatures drop to 4 c., or on December 16th. The ice boom gets removed when there is less than 645 square kilometers of ice within the eastern basin of Lake Erie between Long Point, ON. and Erie, PA.
If there was no Niagara River ice boom, the probability of ice jams for the region’s hydro-electric projects is high since the ice tends to flow into the Upper Niagara River.
Now that it’s being lifted, it’s an official sign that there is a reduction of ice which means Spring is finally here. Due to a mild Winter, there is very little ice cover on Lake Erie, so this is being lifted even earlier than last year’s date on March 8th, 2016.
This is good news for Niagara Falls Tourism and for the Hornblower Niagara Cruises. This means its opening date should be sooner than later. This season, they are aiming for an opening date of April 1st, 2017 (*dependent on weather conditions).
This is not the earliest the ice boom has been removed. The earliest date was on February 28, 2012, and the latest date was on May 3rd, 1971.
Have a look at the Niagara River Ice Boom LIVE by clicking here
We are excited for Spring!