• We asked our readers to help us choose between four great cover options for our upcoming Wicked Weather issue.

If nothing else, it’s likely safe to say that the top-three cover contenders in Canadian Geographic’s cover vote for our special 2013 weather issue were equally impressive.

As regular Canadian Geographic followers know, in advance of each issue’s publication, we solicit your feedback to help us choose our cover image. This time around, options one and two (pictured above, left to right) tied, each with 32 percent of the vote, while option four registered 26 percent. An incredibly even split. (Clearly an anti-“centre of the universe” response was at play when it came to the option three. It registered just 10 percent of the vote.)

In selecting our cover, we also consider advice from our newsstand circulation experts at St. Joseph Communication. Their favourite? The forked-lightning strike option. They felt the image was the most dramatic and noted in particular the effectiveness of the contrasting bright-white lightning and foreboding purple sky. So, based on their thoughts, your votes and our staff’s expert opinions, we chose the lightning shot. (We also decided to use the tornado on the outside back cover of the issue.)

If you don’t already receive our Cover Vote email but want to, signup for the Canadian Geographic newsletter. And be sure to pick up a copy of the Wicked Weather special collector’s edition to see all 100+ best weather photos from 2013. It hits newsstands April 29.