Westbrook’s ice disk, the naturally occurring phenomena that captured worldwide attention during a two-week spin in the Presumpscot River, appears to be nearing its end.

The disk, which had been spinning counterclockwise for several days after it appeared Jan. 14, came to a standstill last Tuesday when air temperatures plummeted and it froze into the river ice. It remained stationary Sunday.

The edge of the disk facing upriver toward Saccarappa Falls, which is just a few hundred feet away, had melted Sunday evening and eroded to the point where the disk was no longer circular. The side of the disk adjacent to Ash Street was frozen into the riverbank.

The only side of the ice disk that remained intact was the section closest to the parking garage on Dana Court – on the opposite side of the river from Ash Street and the city’s River Walk.

Several people, who came to see the disk Sunday evening, walked away after realizing that the disk was about to turn into river mush. The center of the disk, which at its peak was about 100 yards in diameter, looked like it had melted and turned into a pond of water.

Tina Radel, Westbrook’s marketing and communication manager, has used the city’s drone to take extensive aerial footage of the disk.

She said the disk started to show signs of deterioration last Thursday after most of Maine was hit with heavy rains and temperatures that reached 50 degrees.

“It was a giant piece of ice. We knew it wouldn’t be there forever,” Radel said Sunday night. “We like to think of it as our rainbow. It made people smile before it fades away. It became a natural wonder in an urban setting.”

Radel said the ice disk breathed new life into an area of Westbrook that the city that has been trying to promote, bringing visitors who may have never been to Westbrook before the natural wonder formed. The River Walk extends 1.2 miles from Saccarappa Falls, cutting a path behind a string of Main Street businesses and restaurants and past the city’s Riverfront Park before ending on Cumberland Street.

Radel said the city has no plans to commemorate the demise of the ice disk.

“We’ll go back to business as usual,” she said. “But we will certainly never forget it.”

Visitors who came to see the disk Sunday evening said they were disappointed.

“It’s not an ice disk anymore,” said Millilani Johnson, of Standish. She had never seen the disk, which is why she and her husband, Greg, decided to take a few hours out of their vacation to stop in Westbrook. “I wish it was still spinning.”

“We’re disappointed,” said Greg Johnson. “It was kind of cool having a worldwide phenomena right here in Westbrook.”

Greg Johnson said he had observed the disk on a couple of prior occasions and agreed that it was in critical condition.

“The ice disk is nearly dead,” he said.

At the nearby Legends Rest Taproom, bartender Diana Corbett said she had served a bunch of Ice Disk Cosmo cocktails on Sunday. The bar named the drink after the ice disk, which Corbett admitted did wonders for their business.

Legends had a line of people waiting to get in Friday night – unusual for this time of year. But Corbett said Sunday’s customers expressed regrets that the disk, which has been floating just a few hundred feet from Legends’ rear entrance, was starting to disintegrate.

“Please tell everyone that it was good run,” Corbett said of the ice disk and its economic impact.

The city’s ice disk garnered attention from around the world.

It received coverage from the BBC, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and The New York Times, among other news outlets.

Last week, Brown University asked if it could set up a 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 a tenant in Mitchell’s building, allowed the college to access its internet network to stream the pictures.

Unfortunately for viewers, moisture got inside the camera this weekend, creating an image that was more foggy than clear. But the 20-second deday time-lapse video taken Sunday did show that the left side of the disk, closest to Ash Street, was starting to erode.

The ice disk also attracted some negative attention.

A New Jersey man armed with a pickax, hatchet and chainsaw walked onto the ice floe last Thursday, telling news media he wanted to study it and turn it into a giant peace sign. Christopher Angelo, 44, has a history of staging public stunts and was not charged by police. He has been arrested for doing stunts in other states.

“Today was a rough day for the ice disk. It was hit by warm temperatures, heavy rains and an out of state visitor who used tools to cut chunks out of it and carve a line across the middle,” the city of Westbrook wrote Thursday in a post on its Facebook page. “We discourage anyone from attempting to go out on the ice. It is not safe and the public is enjoying it intact. We hope the ice disk can rebound.”

Radel said she spoke with Chris Horvat, the scientist from Brown University who has been studying the ice formation, and he told her that Angelo’s antics probably did not inflict significant damage.

“That piece of ice may be up to a thousand tons. Let’s hope Mother Nature wins here and people stay off the ice to let nature do its thing,” Horvat told the city.


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