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Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Weather and Climate

Thick fog can roll in at any time of year Listen to the local weather forecast before planning your day
© Parks Canada / D. Salisbury, 1998

This area's weather is dominated by air masses moving eastward over the Pacific Ocean and piling up against the Insular Mountain Range of Vancouver Island. As these air masses are forced up the mountains, they cool and the moisture within them condenses until it is released as precipitation. It is not unusual for this area to receive more than 300 cm (130 in.) of precipitation annually, most of it in the form of rain. This maritime climate with cool summers, mild winters, and abundant moisture results in the longest growing season in British Columbia. The lush coastal temperate rainforest and abundant intertidal life are excellent examples of the influence of the climate on the landscape of Pacific Rim.

While the seasonal weather changes may be subtle compared to the rest of Canada, there are some recognisable patterns on the West Coast.

Ocean swell crashes on the rocks Strong southeasterly winds characterise the beginning of the storm season
© Parks Canada

Summer is characterised by a reduction in the rainfall but an increase in sea fog. Pacific Rim summers are cooler and wetter than summers in Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria. and Vancouver. Average summer temperatures are 14 C. Winds are usually light and predominantly from the west-northwest.

Autumn marks the beginning of the wet season for the National Park: increasing cloud blocks the sun, strong and persistent southeasterly winds bring frequent and severe storms and temperatures drop.

A blanket of snow covers Wickaninnish Bay
Snow is a rare occurrence and usually doesn't "stick" around for more than a couple of days
© Parks Canada / S. May

Winter intensifies the wet autumn pattern. Average temperatures for the season are 6 C. Rainfall is heavy; the community of Ucluelet, during unusual typhoon-like storms, has received as much as 49 cm (19 in.) of rain in one day! Although there are occasional wet snowfalls, snow is infrequent along this coast and several winters may pass without it. Frost is experienced each winter, but it is seldom severe. Normally temperatures remain above freezing unless cold Arctic highs move in bringing calm, sunny weather.

Sunshine dries out the cedar boardwalk near the Wickaninnish Centre
Spring comes early on the West Coast
© Parks Canada / B. Campbell

Spring is evident by late February - early March. The incidence and severity of storms decrease as North Pacific weather patterns stabilise. Precipitation decreases, clouds dissipate giving way to sunshine and temperatures rise.

Current local weather forecasts