Storm Watching

Experience a wet and wild, west coast winter! Nothing is more exhilarating than the fury of the wind, rain and waves during a winter storm. The raw power of nature has become a fascinating draw for tourists to Ucluelet and has created a new winter activity in the area - storm watching.

The best time for storm watching is November through March as gale force winds tear along the coast at over 70km an hour. The Ucluelet region gets over 4 meters of rain a year and during these winter storms it seems to be coming at you from all angles! Ten foot high waves pound the beaches, hitting the rocks and sending white sea spray high into the air. The west coast of Vancouver Island sees 10 to 15 of these storms each month.

Witness the ferocity from the warmth and coziness of a bed and breakfast or a resort, or go outside and meet Mother Nature head on along the Wild Pacific Trail. This trail offers many viewpoints for storm watching, specifically at the Amphitrite Lighthouse where waves have sent ocean sprays over the lighthouse itself! Many accommodation providers in Ucluelet offer storm watching packages so be sure to ask when you book your vacation.

The calm after the storm is just as rewarding. The waves bring driftwood, trees and sometimes Japanese glass fishing floats. Beachcombing after a storm can be very relaxing and fascinating

Weather Origins

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Where does this weather come from?

Starting in October, a low-pressure system moves northward into the Gulf of Alaska, in a curving motion. The zone between the northern arctic air and the sub-tropical air creates a frontal wave as the system starts to move south eastward. As it travels east, the pressure starts to drop rapidly and the strength of the low pressure system increases, as do the waves and wind speed.

West coast locals have been surviving these storms for hundreds of years - gale after gale, rain that seems to come up just as hard as it came down, and the tremendous waves the Pacific Ocean hurls at them.