Extreme cold strikes the Prairies ahead of 40-degree warm-up
Friday, January 13, 2017, 9:05 AM - Winter has unleashed the brunt of its intense cold on the Prairies this season, and it has yet to let go; however, just around the corner lies a warmly welcomed reprieve.
As mild Pacific air transitions eastward over the Rockies, Manitoba is the last to endure a brief period of dangerously frigid temperatures before warmer conditions prevail.
Temperature swings ranging from 40 to 60 degrees will span the Prairies, bringing a much-needed warm-up, albeit brief.
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Extreme cold warnings that were in place across Saskatchewan on Thursday are beginning to drop on Friday, with only a handful of alerts remaining in southeastern Saskatchewan. Much of Manitoba remains under an extreme cold warning.
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"Temperatures in the -30s with wind speeds of 15 to 20 km/h are producing extreme wind chills of -40 to -45 across the eastern half of southern Saskatchewan, as well as all of southern Manitoba early [Friday] morning," Environment Canada warns. "Frostbite on exposed skin is possible within 10 minutes in these conditions. Moderation is expected to occur over Saskatchewan late [Friday] morning and over Manitoba [Friday] afternoon."
As Arctic air moves eastward, Alberta is the first to see conditions change.
"As warm air crosses the Rockies, southern and central Alberta will be the first to reap its benefits," says The Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern. "Temperatures jump by 10 degrees into Friday and this warmth spreads east into the weekend. In fact, it will feel about 40 degrees warmer as we head into next week across the Prairies."
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The City of Winnipeg was among a handful of municipalities to Manitoba's extreme south that were under a blizzard warning Thursday morning. It was dropped as conditions improved into the afternoon.
While there was minimal snow associated with the low pressure system, the dramatic winds gusting to 90 km/h caused extremely poor visibility for the morning commute, with multiple highway closures and over 30 collisions reported.
RELATED STORY: Near white-out conditions driving through blowing snow in Niverville, Manitoba.