Cleveland Polar Bear Plunge canceled due to icy lake


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CLEVELAND, OH (WCMH/AP) – With wickedly frigid temperatures in the single digits, some people in Cleveland were prepared to welcome the new year with a swim in Lake Erie.

The event at Edgewater Park in Cleveland was canceled because crews had a difficult time cutting a hole in the ice, WKYC reported.

“Sadly Lake Erie was basically frozen to Canada, so we couldn’t actually do the polar plunge, but we still collected a few hundred pounds of canned foods for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank,” the Cleveland Crusaders said on Facebook.

Bitter-cold weather wasn’t enough to stop hundreds of people from taking a plunge into Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota on New Year’s Day.

KSTP-TV reports that the temperature was about minus 15 on Monday morning during the ALARC Ice Dive. It was the second-coldest day in the event’s 28 years.

But event director Harley Feldman said there was never any thought of canceling.

Veteran participants say it’s getting out of the water – not going in – that’s the hard part. Scott Searl has done it more than 10 times, and says “it always hurts, and it’s stupid.”

The event helps raise money for military veterans.

The sky was sunny and the water was freezing at Coney Island in New York, where several hundred people, cheered on by hundreds more, ran into the ocean Monday to mark the start of 2018.

While some dressed in dinosaur or penguin outfits, others wore nothing but underwear or bathing suits at the annual Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Plunge, a New York tradition since 1903.

“It started on my bucket list. It’s a rush, a shock. It’ll wake you up,” said Louie Forte, 65, of Brooklyn, who took part in his seventh plunge. “This year is the coldest year yet.”

With the temperature sitting at a frigid 17 degrees, (minus 8 Celsius) some said the water was warmer, at 37 degrees (almost 3 Celsius).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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