A blizzard warning has been issued for the Red River Valley including Winnipeg due to the expected development of highs winds and poor visibilities in blowing snow overnight into Saturday. An Arctic cold front marking the leading edge of much colder air pushing into AB and western SK this afternoon will push eastward into southern MB tonight. The front is expected to move into southwest MB this evening, reaching Winnipeg around 3 am or so. The front will be accompanied by a band of snow, lasting 3 or 4 hours, giving possible snowfall accumulations of 2 to 5 cm tonight. Although there will not be a lot of new snow with this system, strong northwest winds of 50 to 70 km/h developing behind the front will create widespread poor visibilities in blowing snow. Blizzard conditions will result for several hours tonight into Saturday morning with visibilities of 400 meters or less especially in open areas. The extent and duration of blizzard conditions will depend on how much new snow falls tonight, but at this point enough loose snow is expected to warrant a blizzard warning. Conditions should gradually improve Saturday as the snow tapers off, however strong northwest winds gusting to 70 km/h will persist through the day giving extreme windchill values of minus 40 to minus 45 through the day. In addition, blowing and drifting snow will still be a problem is open areas outside the city. As a result, expect poor traveling conditions throughout the Red River valley on Saturday with possible road closures. Note that a similar situation to this system on the night of January 28th-29th resulted in several highway closures over southern MB including the TransCanada and Highway 75. Only a trace to 1 cm of new snow fell with that system.
To emphasize, this will not be a paralyzing blizzard with lots of deep snow. Rather it will be a storm bringing high winds, sharply colder temperatures and enough new snow that will give blizzard conditions for several hours tonight into Saturday morning, especially in open areas outside the city.