A Blowing Snow Advisory lasted through the night for much of the Central Plains, Pembina and Red River Valley areas. Strong northwesterly winds gusting to 70 km/h combined with yesterday's freshly fallen snow which created poor visibility across the region. The Carman, Morden, Winkler areas are still under the Advisory as of 8 a.m..
Brandon is not under the advisory although the only highway that closed was in that area. The Trans-Canada Highway (#1) was closed overnight from Brandon west to Griswold. The well-traveled 40-kilometer stretch of major road reopened around 6:30 a.m.
Pine Creek School Division has closed all schools for the day while Prairie Rose Division will not run their buses in region A and B but will for region C. Schools however will be open for those who can make it.
"After a brief lull in the gusty conditions last night between 9 p.m. and midnight, as the Alberta clipper impacting began to pull out of our region, those northwesterly winds picked up quickly overnight, and are continuing Friday morning," said CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. "The winds will diminish throughout the morning, allowing visibility to improve, but it will still be breezy Friday afternoon, though, with northerly gusts up to 50 km/h."
After a blustery start to Friday, the long talked about arrival of bitterly cold temperatures will no longer just talk, but actually what we'll see and feel outside our doors. Friday will mark the beginning of a dramatic downward plunge in temperatures, as arctic high pressure builds behind the aforementioned low, allowing a lobe of the Polar Vortex to sneak southward, and settle in for an extended period of time over the eastern Prairies.
"As we've been saying for almost a week, the end to nearly a month of above-average temperatures would be coming to an end, and that end is today," said Sumner with a chuckle. "It will be a quick transition, too, going from highs of -5 Thursday to temperatures sliding downward throughout Friday, landing between -17 and -19 by the time the supper hour arrives."
He noted, there is some good news to share regarding just how long the cold will stick around.
"The latest long-range forecast models are now showing the cold stretch may not last as long as initially expected," said Sumner. "At this point, it's looking like the really cold conditions, so I'm talking temperatures ten degrees below average or more, maybe around until mid-next week. The guidance, right now, is that will be followed by a moderation in temperatures that first weekend of February (4th/5th), to slightly below seasonal to seasonal for this time of year."
According to Environment Canada, daytime highs Saturday through next Thursday will range between -19 and -23, with overnight lows routinely flirting with -30. For the end of January, we should be around -11 daytime, and -22 overnight.