According to niagarafrontier.com, a farmer noticed on the evening of March 29 the falls had gone quiet.
Residents awoke on the morning of March 30th to an eerie silence and realized something was amiss. People were drawn to the Falls to find that the water flow of the Niagara River had been reduced to a mere trickle...By the morning of March 31st, more than 5,000 people had gathered along the banks of the river...The river bed was quickly drying. Fish and turtles were left floundering on now dry land...Souvenirs picked up included bayonets, guns barrels, muskets, tomahawks and other artifacts of the War of 1812...People on foot, on horseback or by horse and buggy, crossed the width of the Niagara River...A squad of soldiers of the U.S. Army Cavalry rode their horses up and down the river bed as an exhibition. Below the Falls, workers from the Maid of the Mist were able to venture out onto the river bed and blast away rocks which had normally been a navigation hazard to the Maid of the Mist boat since its inception in 1846. The sudden silencing of the roar of the Falls had caused much anxiety and fear amongst the residents and visitors. Some believed that this event was the beginning of a doomsday scenario. On the morning of March 31st the Falls remained silent. Many thousands of people attended special church services on both sides of the border.
Turns out there was an ice blockade upriver and the falls resumed when the ice broke the next day.
If the same thing happened today, what would be different?
A college student noticed on the late evening of March 29 that the falls had gone quiet. He took a photo of his face with the dry falls in the background. He immediately videotaped it on his BlackBerry and posted it all to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The media picked up the story after monitoring the web traffic. By the next morning, his YouTube video had 3.4 million hits; he had 869,654 Facebook new friends and over a million new followers on Twitter.
Residents awoke on the morning of March 30th to an eerie silence and realized something was amiss. They turned on the weather channel to find a scrolling news banner and special show about it. All the major networks in Europe and all major English-speaking countries were broadcasting live from the site.
People were drawn to the Falls to find that the water flow of the Niagara River had been reduced to a mere trickle. By the morning of March 31st, more than 500,000 people had gathered along the banks of the river.
The river bed was quickly drying. Fish and turtles were left floundering on now dry land. President Obama declared a state of emergency and deployed the Army Corps of Engineers. PETA and the Humane Association went on national broadcast media to beg for volunteers to save the animals. Many New Yorkers and Canadians opened their hearts and their homes by temporarily housing the homeless fish and turtles in their bathtubs. Several popular musicians quickly organized a television performance to raise funds to safely return the animals to the wild. A plea for fish and turtle food resulted in the local animal shelters being overwhelmed with deliveries of the food, so much that they had to ask people to stop sending food and just send money instead.
Souvenirs picked up included guns, tampon dispensers, television antennas, broken bottles, and plastic bags. So many people tried to cross the width of the Niagara River that the National Guard were deployed to secure the riverbed that the soldiers had to ride horses in the riverbed to expel loiterers and looters who were collecting rocks to sell on EBay. The President’s decision to deploy the National Guard and Army was heavily criticized by “journalists” on Faux News Network.
Workers from the Maid of the Mist began selling branded items as souvenirs, which were now selling for ten times their normal price.
The sudden silencing of the roar of the Falls had caused much anxiety and fear amongst the residents and visitors. A few believed that this event was the beginning of a doomsday scenario. Dozens of people attended special church services on both sides of the border. Rev. Al Sharpton publicly theorized the drying of the falls was a deliberate attempt to disrupt the businesses owned by people of color, and he held a special church service in which he encouraged attendees to protest.
Others claimed it was a conspiracy between "Muslins" and the CIA. Environmental extremists claimed it was caused by pollution.
Members of Westboro Baptist Church arrived with “God Hates Waterfalls” picket signs along with their standard homophobic signs, taking advantage of the military presence to convey their message. Several psychics were interviewed on local television, claiming they accurately predicted the event.
Epilogue: The college student discovering the phenomena created some t-shirts on cafepress.com with his picture and had sold 578,000 within a week. By year’s end he had become a multi-millionaire as a result of the sales and has recently been offered deals for an autobiography and reality show. He was honored for his discovery by participating in the coin toss ceremony at the next Super Bowl. Starbucks launched a special "Disappearing Falls" blend, available only at the Niagara Falls location. A local pub began having events with a "disappearing falls" theme, now calling out "it's going dry" instead of "last call" each night at closing time.