Bob McCarthy walks out onto his flooded property in Pine Point on Sunday after checking out damage caused by Saturday’s storm. Carl D. Walsh / Portland Press Herald

The two fierce storms Jan. 10 and Jan. 13 caused significant damage in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland, from ripping up roadways to destroying the iconic fishing shacks at Willard Beach. Damage assessments were still being made this week and local officials said repairs may take some time.

Cape Elizabeth

Fort Williams Park, including Portland Head Light, took a beating. The door of the landmark lighthouse and the roof of the whistle house were damaged along with surrounding landscaping.

“We’re doing some cleanup and then some repairs on the building to make sure it’s secure,” Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Matt Sturgis told The Forecaster on Wednesday.

Shore, Kettle Cove and Sawyer roads sustained storm-driven erosion and, in some cases, were made impassible by flooding: a car was swept off Sawyer Road and into the Scarborough Marsh area, Sturgis said.

“They got too deep for their car to go through and got swept in,” he said. “It was a heck of a situation.”


Cape Elizabeth’s first responders successfully got the driver out of the car unharmed, he said.

Cape’s Fire and Rescue Department’s Water Extrication Team rescued a crew of four from a 49-foot fishing vessel that ran aground near Trundy Point on Saturday, responding in an inflatable boat.

While temporary fixes are in place across the damaged areas, Sturgis said the town will pursue FEMA funding for long-term repairs, which will be key for whatever Mother Nature throws the Maine coastline’s way next.

“We’re going to have to harden up against future storms,” Sturgis said. “This is a big challenge to our infrastructure, for all of our coastal communities. It’s something we’re all facing.”


Coastal neighborhoods in Scarborough sustained “moderate to significant damages,” according to Rich Kindelan, Scarborough fire chief and emergency management agency director. Roads, sidewalks and a sewer pump station were damaged, along with private properties at Higgins Beach and elsewhere in town.


“In the Pine Point neighborhood, crews responded to one resident that required non-emergency assistance getting out of her home,” Kindelan wrote in an email to The Forecaster. “An on-hand kayak was utilized. No injuries were reported for the duration of both storms.”

Kindelan said the town is still in the FEMA assessment phase, but repairs to public infrastructure will be ongoing.

“Our current priority is to ensure areas are safe and to follow the FEMA process accurately to ensure our eligibility for federal public assistance through FEMA,” Kindelan said.

South Portland

The tide swamped the play area at Willard Beach in South Portland. Contributed / Photo by Russ Lunt

In addition to the iconic fishing shacks being swept into Simonton Cove, most dunes at Willard Beach were washed away.

Asphalt on the Greenbelt at Bug Light Park buckled and some was swept away. The most significant damage occurred along the stretch between the Liberty Ship Memorial and the lighthouse.

City officials said Monday that the lighthouse itself was unscathed. But the park was closed until Wednesday as the city conducted preliminary repairs and marked areas of the park visitors should avoid.

“Our staff is still very occupied with storm cleanup and damage assessment,” Shara Dee, the city’s communications officer, wrote in an email to The Forecaster.

Dee said the city is “considering all storm recovering possibilities.”

The shoreline of Willard Beach is hammered with waves Jan. 13. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

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