Storm coming to Vancouver Island Thursday

Storm coming to Vancouver Island Thursday

Powerful waves in Tofino last winter. High waves are expected on Dec. 20, 2018 in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (File photo).

Powerful waves in Tofino last winter. High waves are expected on Dec. 20, 2018 in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (File photo).

Heavy rain and strong winds are set to hit much of Vancouver Island on Thursday.

Environment Canada said a low-pressure system over the Pacific is expected to rapidly intensify tonight as it moves toward the B.C. coast. The low is expected to make landfall somewhere along Vancouver Island on Thursday.

West Vancouver Island and Greater Victoria are under a wind warning. A special weather statement is in effect for inland Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and east Vancouver Island, from Courtenay to Campbell River, Duncan to Nanaimo and Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay.

Coastal areas along the western part of the island are expected to see strong southeasterly winds of 70 to 90 km/h develop overnight and continue into Thursday. As the low-pressure centre crosses Vancouver Island late Thursday afternoon, strong northwesterly winds of 80 to 100 km/h are expected.

For southern of Vancouver Island, near Juan de Fuca Strait, very strong inflow winds will follow the weather system. Environment Canada said the low is expected to make landfall near central Vancouver Island early Thursday afternoon. The low will then weaken as it crosses the island toward the mainland coast. As the low passes, the strong inflow winds will develop through the Juan de Fuca Strait late Thursday afternoon and last into Thursday evening. Areas near the immediate coast can expect southwesterly winds ranging from 70 to 90 km/h.

“There is [a] good consensus among computer weather models that this intense low will move onto the coast on Thursday but details on the exact track and timing remain uncertain at this time,” the weather agency said in its advisory.

Parks Canada said the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of the island is still under an extreme wave hazard warning through Thursday. Combined seas to remain in the 7 metre range and reach up to 10 metres on Thursday. Very high wave conditions can create strong currents and shoreline flooding.

According to Parks Canada, beaches can also go from completely dry to underwater in seconds during winter storms. The surges can also be unpredictable and float or roll logs. When combined with high tides, it can breach areas beyond the upper shoreline, like parking lots.

The public is asked to use extra caution on beaches, shorelines and coastal waters in and around the reserve. People who are near the shore are advised to say back from the water’s edge, especially along rocky shorelines or islands. Anyone going into the water is asked to use extreme caution.

Depending on 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. Park visitors interested in viewing large waves can go to either the Kwisitis Visitor Centre’s Observation Deck at Wickaninnish Beach or Florencia Bay Lookout.

The wave hazard rating for the Long Beach Unit in the park is extreme.

Here are some live webcams from the Tofino area:

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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