The top weather story of 2007 was about climate change, Environment Canada said Thursday in releasing its annual list of most important, widespread and newsworthy events.

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The tornado touches down near Elie, Man., late on June 22. It was the first Canadian tornado ranked F5, the most severe on an international scale. (Wayne Hanna/Canadian Press)

"At the top of the world, the dramatic disappearance of Arctic sea ice … was so shocking that it quickly became ourNo. 1 weather story," the agency said in a news release.

Althoughthe disappearance of the sea ice is not strictly a weather story, "it's one of the major climate controls" that has been linked to extreme weather, Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CBC News.

Other stories that made the Top 10 include the first Canadian F5 (most severe) tornado, which hit Elie, Man., on June 22, the shrinking Great Lakes and early summer flooding in British Columbia.

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The melting of Arctic sea ice was Environment Canada's top 2007 weather story.

The B.C. floods could have been a lot worse, the release says.The Fraser Valley was spared when a storm that might have pushed the river over its banks missed the area, saving an estimated $6 billion in potential damage and losses, Environment Canada said.

B.C. also figured in the early December storms (No. 3 on the list) that hit the country from sea to sea.Up to 50 centimetres of snow fell on parts of Vancouver Island, followed by heavy rain.On thePrairies,temperatures plunged to –40 C (with wind chill). Ontario and Quebec got a great dump of snow, and then as the storm moved east, it wasAtlantic Canada's turn.

"For a time at the beginning of December, a white Christmas mantle covered Canada from coast to coast to coast," Environment Canada said.

The agency's Top 10 weather stories are:

  • Vanishing Arctic ice.
  • B.C.'s flood threat.
  • Pre-winter mayhem across Canada.
  • Prairie tropical summer.
  • Dry summer in southern Ontario.
  • Post-tropical stormNoel hits Atlantic Canada.
  • Shrinking Great Lakes.
  • Delayed and low-snowwinter in Eastern Canada.
  • Record Prairiehailstorms.
  • Canada's first F5 tornado.

Environment Canadaranks the events on factors that include the impact, the size of the affected area, economic effects and how long the story stayed on top of the news.