A West Coast resident watches a giant wave crash down from a safe viewing platform on Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

‘Tis the season for storm watching.

Parks Canada has issued an extreme wave hazard warning the public to use extra caution on beaches, shorelines and coastal waters in and around the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in Tofino from Thursday, Dec. 13 through Monday, Dec. 17.

Waves could reach as high as seven metres, or 20 feet.

“Very high wave conditions can create strong currents and shoreline flooding. Beaches can go from completely dry to several feet under water in only seconds during winter storms,” the advisory says,

“These surges can be violent and unpredictable and have the potential to float or roll logs and when combined with high tides can breach areas beyond the upper shoreline, like parking lots.”

Parks Canada strongly advises water users to use extreme caution if participating in any water activity and shoreline users are advised to stay well back from the water’s edge especially along rocky shorelines or islands.

Depending of the severity of the beach flooding, access to select beach parking lots and beach areas in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve may be temporarily restricted to protect visitor safety, states the advisory.

Anyone wanting to watch the waves is urged to do so from either the Kwisitis Visitor Centre’s Observation Deck at Wickaninnish Beach or the Florencia Bay Lookout.

For more information on how to safely enjoy the national park reserve and other coastal areas visit CoastSmart.ca.

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