Tofino resort experiences 'perfect storm' during extreme wave warning event
Parks Canada warns extreme waves and storm surges will continue until Monday
Samantha Hackett has seen a lot wild storms during her time working at Long Beach Lodge Resort in Tofino — but the high waves that came with Thursday's extreme storm surges were a first.
"With the high tide and the swells at the same time...it's the highest waves reaching over the top of our property that I've seen in the 10 years I've been here," said Hackett, the resort's business manager.
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Parks Canada issued an extreme wave hazard advisory Thursday for the areas in and around the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Ocean swells reaching up to nine metres are predicted and high tides of up to 3.6 metres are expected to compound the wave hazard.
"All of a sudden it would look like there was enough beach to walk on," said Hackett.
"And then one surge, one big wave comes — and all of a sudden there's no beach. We have salal bushes right at the edge of our property and the waves were able to crest right over the tops of them."
One large swell pushed a massive log up onto the property and popped off the railing to the beach entrance.
'Bad weather, good times'
Tourism Tofino directly markets storm season to bring in tourists in the off season to enjoy sideways rain and big surf — with the tag line 'Bad weather, good times'.
"This is the epitome of our storm season," said Hackett. "It was the perfect storm — everything lined up for that perfect storm."
But the perfect storm can also bring an unexpected downside. The lights were flickering Friday morning at the resort, and by one p.m. the power was out.
An incredible amount of logs rearranged at North Chesterman Beach by today’s massive waves and tides... 📷 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tofino?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tofino</a> beach resident! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcstorm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcstorm</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/coastsmart?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#coastsmart</a> <a href="https://t.co/P2dfWZwwP3">pic.twitter.com/P2dfWZwwP3</a>—@Josie_Osborne
'You can feel it'
Caroline Woodward, lighthouse keeper at Lennard Island near Tofino, reports weather conditions to Environment Canada seven times daily.
"It's been quite thrilling," said Woodward, who compared the sound of the waves slamming into the island to a sound system with a pounding bass.
"You can feel it...it's a big bombardment of all of your senses."
Parks Canada updated its advisory Friday, saying "violent and unpredictable surges exceeding three metres in height will be expected on rocky shoreline and headlands.' It added the warning is extended to Monday.
With files from All Points West and Bridgette Watson.