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Giant ice disk returns to Maine river

A large ice disk slowly rotated in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine on Thursday.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

It’s back: An entrancing ice disk has formed again in a southern Maine city.

On Tuesday, the phenomenon on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook captured the attention of James Tranchemontagne, chef and owner of The Frog and Turtle, a gastropub near the river. He shot a video of the sight and posted it on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“We did it kind of as a joke, because the city’s obsessed with it,” Tranchemontagne said in a telephone interview.

When a similar ice disk formed on the river in 2019, images and video went viral on social media and curiosity-seekers came from far and wide to Westbrook to see the spinning ice disk for themselves.


“We had people coming from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island,” Tranchemontagne said. “Everyone was like, ‘You gotta come see the ice disk!’ It was insane. People couldn’t find parking.”

For this city of 20,400, it was a a bona fide tourist attraction, albeit a temporary one.

“It put Westbrook on the map,” said Tranchemontagne.

This latest ice disk to make an appearance on the river isn’t spinning, but it’s still captured the attention of many.

“As of this morning it moved toward the riverbank and locked itself in,” said Tranchemontagne. “It’s already anchored.”

He isn’t sure when it formed, but “it just seemed like overnight.”

No one knows how long it will last, but Tranchemontagne said it’s a nice distraction “in the midst of this COVID-19 hell.”

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.