Fierce winds and giant crashing waves smashed into Maine’s 1791 Portland Head Lighthouse causing a wide variety of damage during this past December’s Winter Storm Elliott.
The powerful rain and wind storm that hit Maine on December 23rd knocked out electricity to more than 365,000 households with recorded wind up to 65 mph and a storm surge combined with an astronomical high tide.
The fierce winds and crashing waves during the late morning high tide, which at 13.7 feet was the fourth highest on record, smashed in a door and a number of windows at the famous light station and flooded parts of the main floor of the museum leaving debris scattered everywhere.
Photographer Benjamin Williamson, who shared these photos with us, was nearby at the time, and was able to capture a three-frame sequence of the giant wave that smashed into the light station that caused most of the damage.
The force of the wind and waves even cracked one of the solid granite support beams that held the 2,000-pound fog bell in place, leaving it hanging and leaning precariously. Additionally, some of the stone walkway by the lighthouse was ripped up and stones of various sizes that were thrown up by the ocean were scattered everywhere.
Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is one of the best known and most photographed and visited lighthouses in the world. Local officials believe that most of the storm damage will be covered by insurance.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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