The Night the Lights Went Out at the Capitol

Heavy winds temporarily plunged the epicenter of American politics into darkness Wednesday.

The lights on the exterior of the Capitol went out for several minutes Wednesday night, as high-velocity winds battered the building. Long after Congress members had left for the day, lights inside the building also began to flicker, according to several Capitol Police officers stationed there.

Matt Guilfoyle, a spokesman for the Architect of the Capitol, confirmed the outage. "High winds in the D.C. area are currently causing electrical power surges that impacted power supply to the Capitol," he said. "Architect of the Capitol staff responded to Capitol outage reports at approximately 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening and made repairs by 9 p.m. AOC staff will continue to monitor the situation throughout the night."

An Architect of the Capitol employee who was inside the building after the lights went out said that such an occurrence is very rare. He could not recall the last time the building experienced a power outage but said it was "a long time ago."

The coal-powered Capitol Power Plant has not provided electricity to the building since 1952. Like many Washingtonians, the Capitol now receives its electricty from Pepco.