Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflecto
Jumpers prepare themselves for the cold water during the 17th Annual Polar Bear Plunge held at East Carolina University’s Student Recreation Center outdoor pool on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)
By Katherine Ayers
Friday, January 25, 2013
About 1,100 East Carolina University students took the “Polar Bear Plunge” into the 42-degree university Student Recreation Center’s outdoor pool Thursday evening as temperatures headed toward the teens and forecasts called for the possibility of frozen precipitation today.
Jon Wall, plunge coordinator, said the event started 17 years ago with 35 students participating as a way to celebrate the opening of the Student Recreation Center.
“Now it’s become a tradition,” he said. “Most people (who participate) are just proud to say they’ve done it.”
Waiting in line to fill out the required waiver, freshman Morgan Comer said she was taking the plunge for “the adrenaline rush.”
“I want to jump for the heck of it,” she said. “And to be part of an ECU tradition.”
Wall said students are only in the water for 20 seconds or less and they have the option of hopping into the indoor pool to warm up after they have finished the plunge. To keep all jumpers safe, he said lifeguards lined the edges of the pool, rec center employees were on hand to explain the rules and a nurse was available for anyone needing assistance.
In addition to the main event, the rec center offered free food and sponsored a “Get a Clue” involvement fair that provided information on other programs, activities and organizations on campus.
In light of today’s forecast, N.C. Department of Transportation crews worked to spread brine on about 350 miles of Pitt County roads on Thursday afternoon.
The brine, a mixture of rock salt and water, helps delay the road icing that is expected this afternoon and evening. Six crews concentrated their efforts on the county’s primary highways — U.S. 264 and N.C. 11, 33 and 43.
“It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a big help,” Joe Ross, a local DOT transportation supervisor, said.
The City of Greenville had not salted the streets by Thursday evening, but Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan said in an email the city’s equipment is ready should the need arise. Mulligan said the police, fire, parks and recreation, and public works departments will meet this morning to determine the most likely path of the “weather event.”
The ECU Pirate Express late-night bus service has been canceled for tonight with other cancellations possible, according to ECU Transit. People are advised to visit www.ecu.edu/transit for the latest cancellations.
The high today is expected to reach 36 degrees with a wintry mix developing this afternoon with rain, freezing rain and sleet likely before 10 p.m., then a chance of rain or freezing drizzle between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. The low overnight is expected to be 28 degrees.
Contact Katherine Ayers at firstname.lastname@example.org and 252-329-9567. Follow her on Twitter @KatieAyersGDR.
via The Daily Reflector.