Frozen Lake Erie Forces Cancellation of Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Cleveland

Sub-zero temperatures and a frozen Lake Erie forced the cancelation of Cleveland’s annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day. The event at Edgewater Park was scrapped because crews were unable to cut a hole in the frozen lake.

Sadly Lake Erie was basically frozen to Canada, so we couldn’t actually do the polar plunge, but we still collected a…

Posted by Cleveland Crusaders on Monday, January 1, 2018

“Sadly Lake Erie was basically frozen to Canada, so we couldn’t actually do the polar plunge,” the Cleveland Crusaders Rugby Club wrote on Facebook. The event was scheduled for noon on Monday and several brave souls showed up to attempt the frigid plunge. Even though they were not able to jump in the lake, they still accomplished one of their primary goals: “But we still collected a few hundred pounds of canned foods for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Cheers to the Iron Maiden’s and Cleveland Rovers who showed!”

“A frigid blast from the Polar Vortex has caused temperatures to plunge over the Great Lakes,” meteorologist Scott Sutherland explained at The Weather Network.

According to Cleveland Scene, “Last year, according to GLERL data, the lake hit about 20-percent ice coverage. The ‘polar vortex’ winter of 2013-2014 saw 92-percent ice coverage. This winter may eclipse that mark, if trends bear out.”

At present, 35.2 percent of Lake Erie is frozen, according to the NOAA Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System.


Nearly all of the lake could be covered with ice by the end of the week, experts say.

The animation below shows how quickly Lake Erie is freezing:

On Saturday, Euclid, Ohio, firefighters rescued a man who fell through the ice on Lake Erie.

“The man was walking along the shore and fell,” Euclid Fire Capt. DaveRowell told the News-Herald. “He was still on the shore, not in the lake. It was very windy and the waves were throwing freezing water on him. He was about waist-deep in the water.” The man is reportedly in stable condition at Euclid Hospital. Rowell urged the public to stay off the ice and warned that high winds near the lake could also pose a threat.

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