Fire crews in Calgary were swamped with calls Tuesday night as a lightning storm brought flash flooding and hail to some parts of the city.

In just six hours, the Calgary Fire Department responded to more than 150 calls to the emergency line, officials said.

At the height of the storm, almost every piece of the department’s apparatus was on the road responding to calls.


Lightning illuminates the night sky in Calgary on Tuesday night. (@geoffv )

While they were out on the roads, crews dealt with missing manhole covers, flooded streets and underpasses.

Firefighters had to help three motorists who were stranded in water, the department said.

Battalion chief Al Magwood said all the calls about house fires and lightning strikes turned out to be false alarms. 

"I’m not sure why people were calling them in as house fires but we responded appropriately investigated and most cases found nothing along with potential lightning strikes," he said.


Lightning lights up the sky just outside the CBC Calgary studios in northwest Calgary just before 11 p.m. MT. (Brooks DeCillia/CBC)

The heavy rain, combined with mountain snowpack melt, has prompted fire officials to advise against boating on the fast-moving Elbow River until further notice.

South of Calgary, Environment Canada confirmed one tornado near Taber and was investigating reports of three others late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

The first twister was seen eight kilometres south of Taber at approximately 8:30 p.m. MT.

Environment Canada is looking into reports of a second tornado just before 11 p.m. MT about 10 kilometres north of Brooks and two more near Bow Island and Vulcan.


False alarm calls about possible lightning strikes kept Calgary fire crews busy Tuesday night. (Steve Tsuida)

The twisters downed trees and cut power in some communities but there were no reports of injuries.

Travel is not advised Wednesday morning on Highway 1A between Exshaw and Canmore because of flooding and debris.

A heavy rainfall warning is still in effect for Banff National Park, Canmore, Kananaskis and north to Nordegg.