Polar Bear Plunge Rescheduled After Original Date Cancelled Due to Extreme Cold

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Maryland's 18th annual Polar Bear Plunge has been rescheduled after being postponed in January after it officials deemed it was too cold -- yes, even for polar bears.

Maryland State Police and Special Olympics Maryland announced the event will now take place March 8 at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

Some 5,000 are expected to take a dip in the Chesapeake Bay to raise money for Special Olympics Maryland.

Organizers decided it wasn't safe to hold the event Jan. 25 due to bitter cold and winds that whipped drifts of snow and ice onto the shoreline.

"A combination of high winds gusting up to 25 mph has created three-foot waves," said an official at the time. "Combined with freezing temperatures, this has created a large build up of snow and ice on the shore resulting in unsafe conditions for Plungers."

The Jan. 25 event was supposed to also feature the efforts of "Super Plungers," who dip into the water repeatedly over 24 hours. One set of Super Plungers did hit the water that day, as about 500 law enforcement officers -- including some from Prince George's County -- took a dip at noon that day to raise money for the Special Olympics.

"Last year was cold, but it was nowhere near as cold as this," said one Super Plunger as he sat in a hot tub to recover from his plunge. Organizers tried to help participants compensate for the bitterly cold temperatures by providing hot tubs and warming tents.

As he sat in the tub, he touched the top of his head: His wet hair had frozen.

The plunge started in 1997 and has raised more than $20 million for Special Olympics Maryland.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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