Massive waves are expected to hit Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim Park Reserve this week. (Photo - Nora O’Malley)

Winds up to 100 km/h expected for Vancouver Island

“If you are near the water, it is important to be ‘Coastsmart,’ by staying above the high tide.”

Vancouver Island will be a stormwatcher’s paradise this week.

Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for all coastal areas spanning the length of the Island on both sides.

They anticipate southeast winds gusting up to 70 km/h to develop near Georgia Strait and Haro Strait this morning, as an intense Pacific frontal system approaches. These winds could approach 100 km/h on the north island, and over exposed coastal sections as well.

Strong winds are known to cause serious damage and toss about loose objects or cause tree branches to break. Motorists are also encouraged to be prepared to adjust their driving habits to align with any changing road conditions.

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, along with both Tofino and Ucluelet’s district offices, are warning West Coast locals and visitors to “use extreme caution” around beaches, docks and marinas from Jan. 18-20 as heavy winds are on the way.

“During this time period, large ocean swells are predicted to be upwards of 9 metres. High tides of up to 3.6 metres occurring mid-day are predicted to compound the wave hazard,” read an information bulletin distributed by the three parties Tuesday afternoon.

“If you are near the water, it is important to be ‘Coastsmart,’ by staying above the high tide and off large exposed rocks.”

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is asking anyone who wants to watch the massive waves crashing onto its beaches to do so safely by taking in the scene from the Kwisitis Visitor Centre’s Observation Deck at Wickaninnish Beach or the Florencia Bay Lookout.

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