As a spectator sport, winter storm watching in the Tofino area of BC is soaring in popularity. Storm watching is an unbelievable West Coast experience, and is at its best during the fall and winter months. Starting in October, a huge and unrelenting low-pressure system establishes itself in the Gulf of Alaska.
All through November, December, January and February, gale after gale slams into these exposed western shores. The peak months of December through February usually have the most spectacular storms.
Stepping into a Pacific Rim National Parks’ Winter Storm can be an incredible experience. These enormous storms that belt our coast from November through February often generate 40 ft breaking seas which in turn rocket spray 100 ft. into the air. There are as many as 15 storms per month that hits the west coast during the storm season.
The raw power of the natural world has become an intriguing draw for tourists to the Long Beach area of BC’s Pacific Rim National Reserve. That has in fact created a new winter time activity – storm watching. Tofino and Ucluelet are the towns nearest the park, both offering a range of accommodations for storm watchers.
On the wet and wild west coast, nothing is more exciting than the fury of the wind, rain and waves during one of these storms.
Watching these massive waves from the warmth and comfort of your room is breath-taking and supernatural. However if you are in the frame of mind to be outside experiencing the storm first hand you can walk the Wild Pacific Trail (Ucluelet) and enjoy it in all it glory. At Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park you can walk for kilometres along the unspoiled water’s edge and witness storm watching first hand.
Many storm watchers sit back and relax, enjoying the sights and sounds of the pacific storm while staying dry in their room, in the lap of comfort sitting behind large windows… spending hours fascinated by the waves as they toss logs about like toothpicks.
Still others prefer to be outdoors exploring on foot, vanishing into the sheets of ocean mist that hits the coast. The waves that pound the beaches carry driftwood and sometimes Japanese glass fishing floats on shore. Beachcombing after a storm is fascinating.
The more adventurous types, suit up in rain gear, slip on some rubber boots and water proof the camera in preparation of walking the beaches and the thundering waves, before you take a boat tour out on the water where the waves will give you a wild ride.