Extreme waves and king tides are expected to hit the west coast of Vancouver Island this weekend.
Parks Canada issued and extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Friday morning, cautioning all visitors to be cautious around beaches and shorelines.
The Park Reserve is expecting waves up to seven metres high on Saturday.
“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 warning states. “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.”
No closures have been announced, however the Park Reserve is prepared to restrict access to certain areas depending on the conditions and asks that all users obey any posted closures.
Anyone wanting to watch the waves crash onto the beach is encouraged to do so from either the Kwisitis Visitor Centre’s Observation Deck at Wickaninnish Beach or the Florencia Bay Lookout.
The region is also expecting king tides to pour in between Jan. 18-24, with the most extreme expected to hit on Monday.
“Plan your seashore activities according to the tides. Be aware and watch the rising tide along your route to ensure that you can safely return the way you came,” a Park Reserve bulletin reads. “Respect the ocean’s power and stay off the beaches and drift logs if the tide or swell is high…Leave space and time to react to sudden water surges.”
Visitors are urged to never turn their back to the ocean and to keep an eye on posted tide schedules as well as the Park Reserve’s Wave Hazard Rating before planning any shoreline activities.
Anyone looking for more information about staying safe around the ocean can visit www.CoastSmart.ca.