Figure 5. Map of Willard Beach showing the inferred direction of sand movement during the Patriots' Day Storm. Based on sand loss in the frontal dune and accumulation on the lower beach portion of Cell 2, sand may have been carried offshore from both ends of the beach and into the center. It can be postulated that wave diffraction (wrapping) around the headland to the south (where the fishing shacks are) resulted in waves coming ashore at the southern end of the beach in Cell 1 and impacting ledge and seawalls with the result being increased scour of the upper profile and sand transport to the north. This accumulation of refracted waves may have resulted in an exiting flow or longshore drift to the north toward Cell 1. At the northern end of Willard Beach, Cell 3 is exposed to more direct wave attack from swells entering from the Portland Ship Channel and outer Casco Bay. The curvature of the shoreline and submerged beach here may have resulted in waves refracting (bending) and pushing a current to the south in the direction of Cell 2. The convergence of these two circulation cells in Cell 2 may have led to sand being swept down the central portion of Willard Beach during the Patriots' Day Storm.
Last updated on June 7, 2007