© Chris Biensch
Hail stones from Thursday's storm are shown next to a ping pong ball.
A severe thunderstorm has flooded streets, yards, basements and construction sites in Edmonton. Sections of Whitemud Drive are underwater at 111th Street west of Calgary Trail. City workers arrived shortly after 7:30 a.m. to begin clearing the water.
Dharminder Gill told CBC News he was driving to work at 3 a.m.when his car stalled in the rising water. Within five minutes the water was waist deep, he said, and when he opened his window to escape the water began pouring in.
"I was scared," he said. "I took my bag and ran through the water and moved to a safe place."
The normally busy Mill Woods intersection at 66 Street and 34 Avenue is also flooded.
Firefighters spent much of the morning rescuing people from submerged vehicles, with at least 18 cars becoming trapped due to rainstorm, and responding to alarms set off by the storm.
"We had over 70 calls in a short period of time," said fire Chief Ken Block, adding the calls left some areas of the city without direct fire coverage. "At a point last night we had crews from downtown responding in Mill Woods, which is a long ways away."
Some off-duty firefighters had to be called in to bolster resources, he said.
Firefighters also responded to two house fires caused by lightning strikes, each damaged to the tune of $100,000, Block said. "Our resources were stretched very thin."
Epcor reported 15 electrical circuits knocked out by lightning, though most power was restored by 8:30 a.m.
Several millimetres of rain and hail fell between 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.
The severe thunderstorm warning for Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park has ended, though Environment Canada says a few showers with thunderstorms are expected this morning.
The heatwave that helped generate the storm will continue Thursday with a high of 30 C.