As residents and city crews begin the cleanup in earnest, the City of Calgary has served notice it will seek provincial cash to deal with the estimated $10 million in damage in the wake of Tuesday's rainstorm and floods.

Wednesday revealed the first clear signs of the storm's impact -- flooded basements, clogged pathways and even rolled-up pavement.

The city, anticipating millions in repair costs for damage to roads, homes and other infrastructure, will look to the Alberta government for a financial bailout.

"We have advised the province this morning we will be applying to the disaster relief fund for funding, not only for municipal infrastructure, but it could carry over, as well, to a number of homeowners who are sitting there with flooded basements right now," Mayor Dave Bronconnier said Wednesday.

The nearly 72 centimetres of rain that fell Tuesday ravaged Erin Cleland's basement suite in Capitol Hill as the floodwater shattered windows, unhinged doors, toppled the refrigerator and bent a metal bed frame.

"We're missing more house than actual property," Cleland said as she surveyed the wreckage.

"It's disastrous," said roommate David Linn.

"We don't have any renter's insurance or anything. But I'm not too sure what I've lost yet."

Clumps of grass and dirt hung from the ceiling, left there by the 2 1/2 metres of floodwater that rose in less than an hour.

Every step on the soaked carpet pushed brown water out from under foot, where some of Cleland's high school graduation photos lay covered in mud.

Even those with insurance were left without immediate help.

Kurt Schmitz, who lives with his common-law wife in the basement suite next door to Cleland, will have to write off most of what he owns after his insurance company told him it wouldn't cover flood damage because it was an act of God.

Now he has to leave his home of eight years, where he was paying $800 in monthly rent, and hit the tight rental market.

"It sucks, but there's not much you can do," he said. "You have to start over."

The total rainfall of 10 centimetres between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning was more than the expected average for all of June. It covered the entire city, unlike the isolated storms that typically hit Calgary.

"The worst part of the storm went right through the city centre, so the entire city got hammered," said Global's weather expert, Paul Dunphy.

Insurance companies, swamped by calls from flooded homeowners and tenants, said it could be a week or two before they could peg the value of the damage to homes.

"Let's face it, if there's a lot of claims, it will be a while before we get appraisers out there," said Frits Wortman, a senior consumer information officer with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Even cleanup companies were compiling waiting lists.

Del Bryant, vice-president of operations for Servpro Cleaning and Disaster Restoration, said his 14 crews were awash in calls. People calling for help Wednesday were told it could be a day or two until a crew arrived; it would likely be longer until everything was back to normal.

"The way it is right now, getting enough people to put it back together could take a month or two or three," Bryant said. "With the labour shortage we have in Calgary, it's impossible to get anything done the way you want it."

Water wasn't the only problem for some. In Tuscany, 16-year-old Andrei Mogosanu was still digesting the sight of charred wood and insulation that sat on his and his parents' living room floor.

Their house caught fire after lightning struck it during the storm. Mogosanu and his mother got out and his father wasn't home, but half the house's roof caved in.

"This is my bedroom," he said, pointing to a soaked and ceilingless room. "It's got a sunroof, now."

Wednesday revealed just how busy emergency crews were during the storm. Staff at the public safety communications centre fielded 2,087 calls during a four-hour period, resulting in 1,008 dispatches for fire, police and paramedics (about half the calls were duplicates).

At one point, there was only one available ambulance in the city, prompting EMS to call an orange alert -- a measure which expedites patients waiting in hospital hallways and calls on off-duty paramedics to return to service -- and free up nine ambulances.

The city's 311 line got about 3,000 calls relating to the storm, including more than 600 requests for service.

Schools were also feeling the storm's effects. St. Mary's High School graduation today was being threatened with cancellation after Centre Street Church, where the ceremony was to take place, was flooded. But the ceremony will go ahead after the University of Calgary offered to help by hosting it there.

Even car dealerships were hit. Marlborough Ford likely lost $500,000 worth of cars after 19 new and five used cars suffered water and electrical damage.

"It's not as bad as it was last year, when we had 50 (cars damaged during a flood)," said sales manager Darren Jacula.

The city now begins to pick up the pieces, though that could take months in some areas. A northbound stretch of 14th Street between 8th Avenue and 16th Avenue N.W. will be closed indefinitely after a surge of water from the storm sewer blew out a manhole cover, which in turn caused the road and sidewalk to heave and roll up like a carpet.

Bruce Barrs, acting co-ordinator for Calgary Disaster Services, said it is starting to put together a list of what was affected by the storm.

"One of the big questions on everybody's plate is, 'Now what?' We're trying to get a grasp as far as damage assessment," Barrs said.

What's known is the damage isn't as bad as it was from the 2005 floods, when rain fell over the entire city for 20 days.

City officials said the level of the Elbow River is normal, while the Bow levels are still well below any point where there would be concern about overland flooding.

The Bow's flow peaked Tuesday night at 368 cubic-metres per second -- one-third of the flow in June 2005.

Still, the damage throughout the city led Bronconnier to seek provincial funding, which a provincial government spokeswoman said it is now considering.

Part of the criteria for delivering the funding includes declaring the storm a one-in-25-year event, but Alberta Environment had yet to determine if it met that standard.

Bronconnier said the city won't wait for a decision from the province -- which could take months -- before getting to work.

As for whether aging infrastructure or a lack of staff was to blame for some of the flood damage, Bronconnier pointed instead to Mother Nature.

"You're talking almost 100 millimetres of rain pouring down," the mayor said. "This isn't about not having staff, this is about having a huge deluge."