Polar Plunge at Clear Lake Sunday.

It was warmer than most years as more than 600 people jumped into Clear Lake Sunday for the annual Polar Bear Club event to raise funds for two different charities, Make-a-Wish and Toys for Tots.

On a day that typically sees a high temperature right around the freezing mark, and a lake that has a layer of ice on it, swimmers were able to enjoy a 55-degree day and warmer-than-typical lake water.

Lori Schade was part of a local restaurant’s Polar Plunge team. She says the water was a little cold, but was wonderful compared to the years when it was 4-below-zero and 50-below wind chill.

Julie Hove was part of a team made up employees from a local clothing store.

She says it’s a rush, with your body feeling prickly when you get out of the water. Travis Hale and his children, 14-year-old James and 9-year-old Anna, drove to Clear Lake from Latimer to do the jump.

About 110 more swimmers participated this year compared to last year, with the event raising $28,500, before expenses. In 2011, the event raised about $21,000.

Photos and story by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City