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Polar plunge almost canceled due to November storm

Ashley Hirtzel

The November storm snow almost put a monkey-wrench into the 2014 Polar Plunge Saturday. Mountains of leaves and sticks coated Woodlawn Beach after the storm.

Law enforcement officials worked all day Friday to clear debris and prepare the beach for attendees. Lieutenant Jim Koch is with the Hamburg Police Department. He says the parking lot and beach were buried in snow during the storm.

“If snow stayed we would have not been able to run the plunge this week.  Our parking lot was filled with snow and the snow on the beach was also excessive. To be able to plow the beach to make a path would have been extremely difficult. So, luckily we got some warm weather after the storm and we were able to clean out as much as we could,” said Koch.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
Polar Plunge

More than 1,200 western New Yorkers will dive into the 40 degree water to benefit the Special Olympics. Special Olympics New York Sr Director of Development Amy Neveaux says she expects the effort to raise over $150,000 this year.

“The Special Olympics doesn’t charge our athletes for anything. We don’t charge for their training, their competition, their uniforms, their food, their lodging, nothing. So, it costs about $500 per sport, per athlete to sponsor for one year and all that money stays locally to help us provide all those services for our athletes,” said Neveaux.

The 8th Annual Polar Plunge will kick-off with a ceremonial torch lit walk to the beach, with participants holding post plunge gear in hand. People plan to dive in at 2 p.m.