Say what you want about Washington, but the residents of the U.S. capital city sure know how to make the best of a bad situation (maybe they're just used it by now). On Tuesday, a widespread outage knocked out power to at least 28,000 residents in the D.C. area and left travelers at 14 separate metro stations in the dark. According to The Washington Post, officials have since blamed an explosion at a electrical facility in southern Maryland, quelling fears of a possible terrorist attack — and locals are seizing the moment to entertain themselves.
After Homeland Security officials, maintenance workers, and law enforcement announced the source of the outage on Tuesday afternoon, plant owner Pepco (the Potomac Electric Power Company) issued a statement on its official website, indicating that crews were on the scene addressing the problem.
"Shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday we experienced a dip in voltage in the Washington D.C. area," said the company. "The momentary outage occurred because of customer equipment responding to a dip in voltage [but] customers should be able to operate their own equipment at this time."
A Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) spokesperson who works with the electric distribution cooperative in the Maryland suburbs told the Post that the power loss was likely caused by a failure in one of the main lines, triggering a domino effect that spread throughout the region.
At the time of the outage, media mogul Oprah Winfrey was onstage at the Warner Theater addressing a crowd gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the new (unfortunately misquoted) Maya Angelou Forever stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Mid speech, Winfrey was forced to deliver her scheduled recitation of Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" in the dim light of the darkened theater, but Post correspondent Helena Andrews reported that while the venue was "missing the lights", it was "perhaps not [missing] the electricity."
Tourists and businessmen and women alike were also taken by surprise at the sudden loss of electricity on Tuesday afternoon, many of whom flooded the sidewalks surrounding the Capitol, the National Mall, and other historic landmarks to regain their footing under warm, overcast skies. Others kept to their daily schedule, including U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, who continued with her daily press briefing as usual, despite having to use a mobile phone light to read her pre-written statements.
Despite the unexpected interruption in their days, most went about the incident with a good sense of humor, taking to Twitter to circulate terrible puns, hilarious photo captions, and witty one-liners:
The power outage continued past 4 p.m. ET — but as a few so cleverly pointed out to their frustrated colleagues, still waiting on the concrete steps outside their respective government and downtown establishments, the disruption had occurred on the same date as National Beer Day. Coincidence? We didn't think so either.