Cities along the East Coast of the US are experiencing record-breaking snow fall and extreme drops in temperature; it's been so cold that sharks have been washing up on shore frozen to death.

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy has reported that a number of thresher sharks which washed up dead on Cape Cod are likely to have died from 'cold shock' due to the icy temperatures in the water.

'Cold shock' happens when animals are exposed to sharp drops in temperature and can cause muscle spasms or cardiac arrest, reports. According to scientists the cold shock is likely to resulted in the sharks ending up stranded on the shore, where they will have suffocated quite quickly.

Marine scientist Greg Skomal told the New York Times: "If you've got cold air, that'll freeze their gills up very quickly. Those gill filaments are very sensitive and it wouldn't take long for the shark to die."

Yesterday, Cape Cod hit lows of -14 degrees Celsius and the cold weather is set to continue into the new year.

The sharks have now been taken to NOAA Fisheries where it will be dissected, once it's thawed out, to find out more about how it died.

The cold snap even managed to freeze Niagara Falls; while on top of Mount Washington, the North East's highest point, Adam Gill from Mount Washington Observatory filmed himself turning boiling water into snow by throwing it from the steaming kettle into the air. Bloody hell.

Credit: Facebook/Mount Washington Observatory

Weather observer Tom Tadham explained to WMUR: "Basically as that water is very rapidly freezing, since it's starting off very warm, those molecules are a little bit more separated. And then as it's freezing very rapidly, it's basically going instantaneously into a vapor where the gashes stay but as ice crystals."

Several deaths have already been linked to the freezing weather, with an 83-year-old woman reportedly dying of exposure after she crashed her car in South Dakota and three people found dead in a canal, near to Lake Erie, when their car slid off a road.

Weather warnings are in place for huge parts of the US including New England and New York, with forecasters warning of frostbite and hypothermia.

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