2st PART








During harsh winters temperatures can drop very low as we can see on the map below of lowest records from 1951 to 1988 for France on left and from 1888 to 2012 for the other side of the Atlantic in USA on right .

Click to enlarge

When in France, minimum temperatures fall to -4°F (-20°C) and even lower as it was the case in 1829/1830, 1879/1880, 1955/1956, 1962/1963 or 1984/1985 and more other winters, then a continental climate happens in France and Eastern Europe. Lakes and rivers freeze over several centimeters in thickness. In January 1985 the Rhine was frozen to 70 cm thick and even the Garonne was frozen. Winter 1879/1880 was so cold that Lake Annecy was completely frozen (which is produced only in 1830 and 1880). With temperatures of -11°F (-24°C) to -27°F (-33°C) in Paris and North that winter the Seine was covered with 30 cm of ice as was the case in February 1895. So people could cross it with feet. On 02/05/1956 there were even ices approximately 1 meter by 50 cm on the Loire.

The winter of 1996-1997 in Nantes the Loire was taken by the cold.
From 7 to 20 January 1985 the ice invaded Garonne.

During the winter of 1962-1963 in Paris

(Source : H. Wanner, La Recherche, juin 1999 - cliché Keystone)

Some years there are examples of cases where the temperatures were so low that ice started or was formed. This was the case in 1568/1569 in Bordeaux. Winter 1755/1756 and 1775/1776 the mouth of the Seine was frozen for 8 km as the ice. The boats were trapped by ice.

In February 1956 the Gironde estuary
was trapped in the ice

In North East England
a boat in ice


Hardy cyclist David Joel cycling on a
frozen Thames near Windsor Bridge
in London during the 1947 cold snap


In USA during the coldest winters, a huge bridge of ice can form on the Niagara Falls as was the case in 1910/1911. The water continues to flow beneath the ice at all times, albeit reduced to a mere trickle on rare occasions when ice jams block the river above the falls. In March of 1848, so much ice had flown into the the Niagara Falls that the falls literally stopped moving.

Click here to enlarge Photo of frozen Niagara Falls

Click here to see another picture of
frozen Niagara Falls , taken in 1910.


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