Cold prompts Pottstown to postpone polar plunge, bonfire

'Cold for a Cause' plunge near Myerstown still on

POTTSTOWN, Pa. - The bitter cold has prompted Pottstown to postpone its New Year's Day festivities, including the annual plunge into the Schuylkill River.

The most recent survey of conditions at Riverfront Park indicates a dual layer of ice covering the wading area, the Montgomery County borough's parks and recreation department posted on its Facebook page on Friday.

The annual bonfire has also been put on hold.

"Our apologies for the letdown, but the safety of participants must come first," the department said.

The forecast for 10 a.m. Monday calls for a temperature of 10 degrees in Pottstown, with a wind chill of minus 8.

The borough advised to stay tuned for an announcement on when the events will be rescheduled.

At least four towns in New Jersey -- Brigantine, Margate, Ocean City, and Ventnor -- have also postponed or canceled their polar plunges, citing concerns about the safety of participants who would be jumping into the Atlantic Ocean.

The 28th annual "Cold for a Cause" plunge at Willow Springs Park near Myerstown, Lebanon County, is still on, according to organizers, who told 69 News that they have no plans to cancel or postpone the event.

They said the water comes from a spring and is always at least 40 degrees.

Proceeds from the plunge benefit Developmental and Disability Services of Lebanon Valley.

Past plungers will tell you this isn't the first case of extreme cold on New Year's Day. In 2002, members of the Berks County Polar Bear Club had to cut through two inches of ice before jumping into the Tulpehocken Creek at Stonecliff Park in northwest Reading.

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