We've had some bizarre weather the last couple of years.

The 2022-23 winter season saw Buffalo get hit with two of the worst storms in the region's history, and the 2023-24 winter season saw Buffalo and several other areas way behind in their snow totals. To say that the weather has been unpredictable would be an understatement.

Considering how mild the winter has been in the 716, it seems like the perfect time for the US Army Corp of Engineers, New York Power Authority, and the International Joint Commission to be the annual ritual to let us know that spring is ready to arrive.

Like most of the Great Lakes this year, Lake Erie had very little ice this winter. The warm lake waters and lack of ice mean the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom is on its way out.

Ice Boom Removal Underway Since Early March

At the end of January there were trace amounts of ice on Lake Erie and as of February 26, 2024, the water temperature near the ice boom was 1.7°C (35°F). Due to the lack of ice cover on Lake Erie and the absence of ice in the Maid-of-the-Mist Pool below Niagara Falls, preparations are underway for the removal of the Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom.
-Lynn Greer, US Army Corp of Engineers

Since the mid-1960s, the International Joint Commission has installed the nearly 2-mile-long ice barrier to help reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River which reduces the amount of ice that can cause damage to the hydropower plants that are in, and around, Niagara Falls.

The ice boom, which consists of 22 30-foot-long steel pontoons, is jointly operated and owned by The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG). The two organizations are responsible for its' annual installation, removal, and maintenance.

It has been a very warm winter, so warm that this marks the earliest the boom has come out of the water; removal officially started on February 26th, beating the previous removal by two days (February 28, 2012).

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