Pacific Rim Weather Tofino Ucluelet
Experience the raw power of the mighty Pacific Ocean in all its rugged majesty! Waves rolling in from Japan, crashing against rocky shore and sandy beaches and wind howling and gusting up to more than 100km/hr are common occurrences during the West Coast winter storm season. But once the storms have passed, you’ll be rewarded with peaceful strolls along cool, deserted beaches – a great time for beachcombing for wash-up treasures. West Coast weather is nothing short of spectacular and another one of the many reasons people travel here. And it’s nothing if not changeable. There’s a saying around here, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!” Situated in the most temperate climate region in Canada, the Pacific Rim area also has the distinction of getting some of the highest rainfall levels in the country.
Temperatures normally range from 5°C (40°F) in January up to 18-20°C (64-68°F) in July. Breezes off the ocean keep temperatures from rising too high in the summer, and the ocean as regulator also means temperatures rarely dip below freezing. The West Coast hardly gets any snow, but it has been known to happen. It usually doesn’t last long, just a day or two – not even long enough for the novelty to wear off.
The bulk of rain falls during the winter, between November and April. While reports vary, the average amount of yearly rainfall is around 2,000mm (2 metres, 80 inches, 6.5 feet). However, it’s been known to be a lot more than that – in 1995, for example, 6,460mm (6.5 metres, 254 inches, 21 feet) of rain fell. That must have been a wet one! All this rainfall is what allows the temperate rainforest in the area to thrive. British Columbia’s coastal rainforest – including Clayoquot Sound – represents one quarter of the remaining coastal temperate rainforest left in the world. It is truly something to be celebrated.
The West Coast has become famous for its winter storms, which have spurred a whole new breed of tourists – storm watchers! But locals have always known the joys of tramping around in gumboots and rain gear on local beaches for years. And standing on the beach in high winds, which can reach up to 130 km/hr (80 miles per hour), is a breathtaking experience but hold onto your hats! While hiking beaches in extreme weather, watch out for rocky promontory areas – rogue waves can appear at any moment, so don’t get too close to the ocean and never turn your back on it. Winter storm watching is a great activity to engage while indoors as well. Many local lodges and hotels are situated right on the ocean – it’s the safest and warmest storm watching of all and very enjoyable when done with a warm drink and good food. Summer on the West Coast is a peaceful, beautiful time. While the water temperatures at this time still mean you won’t last long in the ocean without a wetsuit, many inland lake areas are easily accessible for swimming, such as Swim Beach at Kennedy Lake (roughly 20 minutes from Ucluelet). If you’re brave enough, the ocean is probably hovering between 10-14°C (50-58°F). When temperatures rise, often fog will arrive with the afternoon, this is why August has been renamed “Fogust” by many. August gives way to early fall, a time when the sun still shines brightly and the beaches become deserted once again. At any time of year weather on the West Coast is as unique and spectacular as the area itself.