Polar Bear Plunge Canceled Because of Extreme Weather
A combination of extreme wind, cold temperatures, ice on the beach and in the water, as well as approaching snow, has caused the cancellation of all activities today related to Plungefest and the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.
Sustained winds of 20-30 miles an hour are pounding the beach from the east and are creating waves up to five feet. The east wind has also pushed ice into a path about ten feet wide for the entire length of the beach. Ice is also in the surf.
The cold temperature is made extreme by the wind chill. Plunge medical team members said in these conditions, frostbite would begin within five minutes on exposed skin.
The decision to cancel activities was made after consulting with a team of experts involved with the Plunge. Maryland Park Service officials said the beach would have been closed even in July, due to the high waves. The medical team felt persons exposed to the wind after plunging would also be more susceptible than usual to risk. The water safety team, led by Natural Resources Police divers, felt the water conditions were unsafe and any water rescue efforts would be greatly inhibited due to the rough water.
The generosity of all those who signed up for the Plunge and collected money to support Special Olympics is amazing and appreciated. Those who had money to turn in to Special Olympics today can do that at their local Maryland State Police barrack. A list of barracks is available on the MSP website under “barracks.”
An alternative date for the Plunge is being considered, but would not occur before March. Further information and updates will be on the Plunge website at www.plungemd.com and on the Special Olympics website at www.somd.org.