Man struck by lightning as storm rips through Edmonton

A man was struck by lightning while a storm raged in Edmonton. The man was taken to hospital in stable condition. Elsewhere in the city, some commuters on the Whitemud had to be rescued by boat.

Flooding so severe in some areas that boats had to rescue commuters from vehicles

A car is stranded in a flooded part of the Whitemud on Wednesday afternoon. (Nicole Teeuwsen)

A man was struck by lightning Wednesday as a sudden and violent thunderstorm raged through Edmonton. 

Alberta Health Services confirmed the man was struck in south Edmonton at about 2:30 p.m. and was taken to hospital in stable condition. 

Early in the afternoon, Environment Canada issued severe thunderstorm warnings for Edmonton and the surrounding communities of Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Morinvillle, Big Lake and Villeneuve.

Timelapse video of storm hitting downtown Edmonton


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Video of the skies darkening and a storm moving into Edmonton's downtown. 0:14

Those warnings have since been lifted.

'We were like bumper boats'

At its height, the storm dumped heavy rain in the Edmonton area and caused flash floods.

Flooding was so severe in certain areas that some commuters had to be rescued from their vehicles by boats.

Shawna Serniak was driving with her son, Trylan, when her vehicle became swamped and stalled at the 106th Street bridge on the Whitemud.

Semi's were going by by us and we were literally like bumper boats hitting each others vehichles.- Shawna Serniak

"Two manholes had popped out on either side of the bridge and water was just waterfalling into that area," said Serniak. 

She said seven vehicles were in total were stuck under the 106th Street bridge. 

"Semi (trucks) were going by us and we were literally like bumper boats hitting each other's vehicles," she said.

Twitter video of water pouring onto Whitemud Drive


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Lochlin Cross sent in this video of rainwater pouring down onto Whitemud Drive. 0:31

"I quickly called 911 because I knew we weren't going anywhere and the water was coming in. And I was worried that it was going to get worse and we might have to be rescued out of the vehicles."

Serniak was right. The 911 operators told her to stay put and wait for a rescue. She said they warned her the water gushing from the manholes could cause a strong undercurrent and drag someone under. Serniak and her son were safest if they stayed put in the vehicle.

By the time they got to us water was to our knees, everything in the vehicle was soaked...- Shawna   Serniak

Within 20 minutes, several fire and emergency response teams were bobbing towards them in yellow rescue boats. 

"By the time they got to us, water was to our knees, everything in the vehicle was soaked, we were soaked, speakers were crackling, there was oil coming out of my vehicle, all in the matter of a few short vehicles," said Serniak.

The rescuers got her and her son out of their vehicle, and the pair soon headed home for a warm shower and dry clothes. The vehicle will be stuck until a tow truck can reach it. 

The line of thunderstorms appeared to stretch from Villeneuve, 30 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, to Viking, about 130 kilometres southeast of the capital.

'We do whatever we have to do'

The storm caused several power outages across the city. Epcor spokesman Tim le Riche said it seems like a storm rolls through the area every day this summer "around quitting time."

"At the height of the storm today we had seven circuits that were affected," said le Riche. "Most of the service has been restored.

"We've worked our way through another thunderstorm in Edmonton today."

Stranded driver rescued on Whitemud after storm


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Kent Hauptman thought he would be alright driving through the flooded underpass at Whitemud Drive, but, turns out, he wasn't. 0:42

The outages were all across the city, said le Riche. He said Epcor plans for outages whenever there is a storm.

"Whenever we get high wind, lightning, heavy rain, that's going to cause power outages," said le Riche. "It always does."

"We always have crews ready to go on standby. When something happens, those guys go right away. And if we need more we call more guys in.

"We do whatever we have to do."

You can see some videos of the storm below: