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Damaging winds whip through the Prairies, widespread warnings and gusts over 100 km/h

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Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 6:46 PM -

Snow isn't the only weather story making headlines in the Prairies.

Wind warnings cover all three Prairie provinces with gusts over 120 km/h recorded in parts of Alberta early Wednesday.

Blowing snow warnings are in effect for parts of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg. Between 10 and 15 cm of snow are expected to fall Wednesday evening and that -- coupled with winds gusting to 90 km/h -- could significantly reduce visibility.

Parts of the region are experiencing above-seasonal temperatures as well.

"A low pressure system moving through the northern Prairies is bringing with it a mild Pacific airmass," said Environment Canada in a statement Wednesday morning. "With this mild air, strong winds will occur."


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Several high temperature records were reported early Wednesday.

"Who would think the wind could gust 100+ km/h from NW with temp of +6C in January in Saskatoon?," The Weather Network's chief meteorologist Chris Scott tweeted.

The hurricane-like winds however, have made driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.

Numerous semi-trailer trucks were blown over in Alberta Wednesday, but no word of any injuries.

There were reports of power lines knocked down in a number of areas and the wind caused trouble during the morning commute in Edmonton.

Fortis Alberta reported 15,000 customers were without power Wednesday morning. 

At 7 a.m. LRT service was stopped between Century Park and South Campus because of 15 damaged crossing arms. 

Several traffic light problems were reported as well.

Debris on some city streets hampered traffic and the RCMP issued an advisory to drivers to use caution on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway south of Edmonton.

Winds will generally be in the 50 to 60 km/h range in Saskatchewan, but will at times gust to 100 km/h or perhaps stronger, EC adds.

These powerful winds are expected to drop below warnings levels Wednesday night.

With files from The Canadian Press

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