Ice storm to join Canada's 2013 top weather list

Environment Canada's David Phillips has asked for the ice storm that hit southern Ontario just before Christmas to be added to the list of the year's top weather stories in the country.

Alberta floods still biggest weather event of 2013

A tree lies on top of a car following an ice storm in Toronto on Dec. 23, 2013. (Matthew Sherwood/Canadian Press)
Weather doesn't take a holiday because Environment Canada lists the top stories for the year.- Senior climatologist David Phillips

The ice storm that crippled Toronto and parts of Eastern Canada at the end of December is prompting Environment Canada to review the list of top 10 weather stories of 2013.

The ice storm struck Toronto, other parts of Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces just days before Christmas.

Thousands of people were without power for several days as hydro crews struggled to get the city back on the grid. The post-storm cleanup in Toronto is still ongoing.

Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment Canada, is suggesting that the list of top weather stories be changed to include the recent ice storm at fourth spot. (Submitted)

David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, released his annual list of the top weather stories on Dec. 19 — just days before the storm hit.

Phillips told CBC News that given how many people were without power, and the economic impact of the ice storm, it's hard to ignore.

"Weather doesn't take a holiday because Environment Canada lists the top stories for the year," said Phillips. "I personally feel that we should revise the list to include the ice storm from hell or the nightmare before Christmas or whatever you want to call it."

Phillips said the ice storm would have definitely been one of the top weather stories if it happened prior to Dec. 19. He said it was a storm millions of central and eastern Canadians from Ontario to P.E.I. won't soon forget.

Alberta floods still No. 1

Phillips said the devastating flood that ravaged southern Alberta in June remains in the top spot, adding it's a weather event that would have topped the list every year over the nearly two decades he has been compiling it.

A man and his cat swim from a submerged truck in High River in June. (Jordan Verlage/Canadian Press)

If it is revised, this would mark the first time in the last 18 years. Phillips said the lists represent more than Canadians indulging in their favourite pastime of talking about the weather — it's about history.

"I'll have to talk to my colleagues in Ottawa to make the case that we should include it because one of the important things about the top 10 weather list is, from a historic point of view, to document some of the more significant water and weather events that happened in Canada."

With regards to the ice storm, Phillips said when the economic losses associated with the storm are considered it is one of those "big ticket items" that deserves more prominence on the list of significant weather events in Canada in 2013.

"If I'd looked at the list that is currently in effect, I would think that perhaps it would be No. 4," said Phillips. "I don't think my colleagues will object to it. I'll just revise the list and maybe some footnote to suggest that this event did occur after its initial release but now it is in there."

Phillips hopes to speak with his colleagues in Ottawa this week. He's hoping for an edit in the next week or two.

The rewrite will mean the current No. 10 — Sunny and Rainless in B.C. — will get the bump.

As for 2014's top weather stories, Phillips said below normal temperatures in December could mean that much of Canada is in for one of the colder winters on record.