President Donald Trump File photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Washington - The recent spate of torrential rain in Washington hasn't just dampened the city's patio-drinking plans, it also opened a sinkhole on the White House lawn.

#Sinkhole Appears on White House Lawnhttps://t.co/MBXeZT8o82

“The sinkhole, confirmed by groundskeepers, is just outside the office of White House deputy press. https://t.co/MBXeZT8o82

Sinkholes, which have been known to swallow streets, cars and even homes, tend to occur when rainwater seeps into the soil and loosens the sediment enough to send it sinking into crevices beneath the surface.

It was not clear what caused the emergence of the White House sinkholes.

Groundskeepers have placed orange cones and caution tape around the spot on the lawn. But they couldn't do anything to keep the Internet at bay.

"It's not like a growing sinkhole right outside the press briefing room at the White House has any existential meaning to it at all, right?" said Twitter user Jeff Urbanchuk.

A magazine editor tweeted that the sinkhole was a "resistance icon."

Even Dictionary.com got into the act, tweeting "Sinkhole: A hole formed in soluble rock by the action of water. Also a sinkhole: A place into which foul matter runs."

By midafternoon, the sinkhole had its own following self-described as #TeamSinkhole, and of course, its own Twitter account - @WHsinkhole.

There were many "drain the swamp jokes," naturally.

And the opportunity for puns and wordplay was irresistible.

Voice of America's Steve Herman tweeted a picture of the hole after it had finally been boarded up. It was "a cover-up," the reporter declared.

Ariel Edwards-Levy of HuffPost called it "ground breaking news."

George Takei tweeted a couple of theories:

"So a sinkhole has opened up on the White House lawn. God was asked whether He would stop it from swallowing the whole building, but He responded, 'The Trumps are in my thoughts and prayers.'"

"That sinkhole at the White House? It's from Trump excavating the grounds after Joe Biden said he hid Obama's birth certificate there."

Others imagined the sinkhole was related to another favorite meme, #freemelania. Ridley Parson tweeted "Y'all! Melania's trying to tunnel out."

And plenty of people noted that another sinkhole had appeared on the Trump property Mar-a-Lago a year ago.

Don’t give up Mother Nature. You can do this. We believe in you! #sinkhole pic.twitter.com/V7r8Zb5ui8

Melania was trying to tunnel her way to freedom and misjudged the distance. Now we know where she has been the last two weeks #sinkhole

so proud to be trending on twitter dot com #sinkhole

And much was made of its location - just outside the press briefing room.