An aerial view of the new ice disk, taken on Saturday Photo courtesy of Tina Radel, City of Westbrook

A new ice disk forming on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook has people excited about the prospect of the city playing host to a natural phenomenon similar to the one that attracted widespread attention a year ago.

Westbrook Mayor Michael Foley went on the city’s Facebook page Saturday and invited people to come and see the ice disk. The downtown river walk area adjacent to the disk is lined with several restaurants.

“We’re excited that the ice disk has returned for a second year in a row. … Our downtown is equipped and ready to serve you just steps away from the ice disk in the Presumpscot River,” Foley said.

The new disk – unlike last year’s, which was circular – has jagged edges and on Sunday appeared to have stopped spinning.

Westbrook’s 2020 version of the ice disk on the Presumpscot River had stopped spinning by Monday afternoon, was partially attached to shore and wasn’t really a circle. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Legends Rest Taproom, which is near the disk, announced on the city’s Facebook page that it will host a Remember the Ice Disk party on Saturday. The restaurant said it will be offering the ice disk cosmo beverage.

Tina Radel, the city’s marketing and communications director, said the 2019 ice disk appeared on Jan. 14. The original disk drew comparisons to a crop circle, a Lazy Susan and a duck-go-round. Radel said she was made aware of the 2020 disk this past Friday, Jan. 17.

Radel said the general consensus had been that the ice disk would not return this winter after demolition crews last July removed the Saccarappa Falls dam near Bridge Street in Westbrook. The dam is located a few hundred feet upriver from the site where the ice disk formed. Radel said most people thought that removing the dam would alter the river currents.

“It took some people by surprise,” she said of the new disk.

After being made aware of the return of the disk on Friday, Radel sent a city-owned drone over the river to take aerial shots. Attached to the aerial photo, which was taken Saturday, is a question: “At what point can we call this an ice disk? The ice formation has grown within the past 24 hours.”

It was attracting a lot of interest on Facebook.

“It will swirl and probably be a better circular shape after a few more days. Be patient,” one commenter wrote. “Different from last year, which was perfectly round. So far this year it has scalloped edges,” another person posted.

Radel acknowledges that the 2020 version is a bit ragged around the edges, but the city wanted to make the public aware of its presence in the river.

The Brown University 24-hour webcam that was installed last year has been reactivated and people interested in seeing what the ice disk looks like can view it through a link on the city’s Facebook page.

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