Annual ‘Polar Bear Swim’ in Decatur cancelled due to unsafe river conditions

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DECATUR, Ala. - It's a long-running New Year's Day tradition in the River City, but this year, it's been decided jumping in the Tennessee River just isn't safe.

The 2016 Polar Bear Swim on January 1, 2016 has been cancelled.

Club president Wayne Holliday said it's because river levels are very high right now due to recent rain and flooding.  Part of the pier at the Riverwalk Marina was under water several days ago when he went to check it out, and there is still debris on the banks and in the water. He said the water is muddy and the current is very strong, which brings up safety and sanitation concerns.

Earlier in the week, the Tennessee Valley Authority urged people to stay off the river until it calms.

This would have been the 32nd polar bear swim.  The group hopes to be back on January 1, 2017.