Washington Monument closes for repairs after dramatic lightning strike

The Washington Monument closed Monday because of a lightning strike that hit it during Sunday morning’s thunderstorms.

The dramatic moment was captured on a video by Travis Nix, a Georgetown law student. His social media post shows a bolt of lightning hitting the top of the monument on the National Mall.

The National Park Service (NPS) tweeted that the monument will be closed to repair damage to the electronic access system caused by the strike.

“We’ve been open since the middle part of May, so we were on a pretty good run up until this point, but some time early Sunday morning, between 12:30 and 1 a.m., [the monument] got struck by a fairly sizable bolt of lightning,” NPS spokesman Mike Litterst told WTOP.

Litterst said the monument gets struck by lightning fairly regularly.

“It’s the tallest landmark, it’s the tallest building far and away in the city, but this one seems to have had an effect on some of the electronic systems that allow us to access the monument and to call and send the elevator.”

Litterst said there was no actual damage to the structure or elevator itself.

He said the monument does not have any sensors to track lightning strikes, but “usually a couple times a summer, somebody manages to capture a strike, and through the courtesy of social media, we’re able to at least track it that way.”

Slow-moving thunderstorms Saturday night into Sunday caused heavy downpours and flooding throughout the region.

More storms are moving through the region Monday.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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