Now people can watch the disk’s rotation – and eventual demise – from the comfort of home.

Westbrook’s world-famous ice disk is ready for its close-up – at least it better be.

There’s now a webcam that broadcasts the daytime movements of the disk, which has been spinning in the Presumpscot River for more than a week and continues its counterclockwise rotation, despite a new covering of several inches of fresh snow over the weekend.

Such disks are known to occur under just the right conditions, but the Westbrook version has the advantage of being unusually large – about 100 yards across – and in a downtown location where it’s easy to see. And where, perhaps, it’s too accessible – someone planted a small American flag in the disk’s center and a rainbow flag on a pole near the edge of the disk.

Although city officials are discouraging anyone from trying to walk onto or otherwise disturb the disk, the flag on the outer edge does allow those monitoring the disk from the comfort of home to spot the steady counterclockwise rotation of the phenomenon.

The image can be found at mooseheadwebcams.com, which primarily has webcam images of various spots around Moosehead Lake in northern Maine.

Tina Radel, the city of Westbrook’s marketing and communications manager, said Brown University asked to put up the webcam to monitor the growth and eventual demise of the ice disk. Rob Mitchell, the owner of a building on Ash Street, gave his approval, and Ethos Marketing, which is the building’s tenant, allowed the college to access its internet network to stream the pictures.

The webcam captures an image once every minute, and the site includes a clip of the previous day’s images strung together for a time-lapse of the disk that effectively shows it in motion.

Radel said the disk seemed to get a little smaller Sunday as a storm moved into the state, but then appeared to rebound after the precipitation stopped and cold air swept in.

“It actually looks like it grew larger last night,” she said.

The disk has attracted worldwide media attention with reports by the BBC, U.S. television networks, The Boston Globe and The New York Times, among others.

The interest seems to have ebbed somewhat, Radel said, although she got emails Monday seeking approval to use time-lapse images – which Radel put on the city’s Facebook page – from a site in France and from The Washington Post. News about the storm on the East Coast seemed to overwhelm interest in the disk on Saturday and Sunday.

“It slowed down, which was nice for the weekend,” she said.

The disk actually stopped spinning last Wednesday when it got stuck to ice on the riverbank. A Freeport man came to the rescue Thursday with a paddleboard and an ice pick and broke it free.

Besides the media attention, the ice disk has drawn crowds to Westbrook as people feel compelled to see the phenomenon in person. That has pleased the operators of downtown businesses, including one bar that has been serving “Ice Disk Cosmos.”

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]


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