A strong storm system pushing into southern BC today will cross into Montana Saturday before merging with a central Plains storm system Saturday night. This Alberta clipper/Colorado low hybrid storm will then push up through Minnesota on Sunday bringing strong northerly winds, snow and blowing snow, and bitterly cold temperatures to the Dakotas and parts of southern MB, especially Saturday night into Sunday. The result will be a major winter storm for the northern Plains and much of the southern Prairies along the US border, with blizzard conditions possible in many areas including the Red River valley. A winter storm watch has been issued for the Red River valley in MB with blizzard watches across all of North Dakota and NW Minnesota. For North Dakota information on this storm, consult their winter storm page.
Models continue to show Winnipeg will on the northern edge of the heaviest snow from this system with the bulk of the snow (15-25 cm or more) falling through the Dakotas and northern Minnesota into NW Ontario. Remember though, with storms like this, it's not the total amount of snow that's the problem.. it's the wind in combination with falling snow that creates the problems with blowing and drifting. So it's important not to focus solely on the snow amounts with this system (although that will certainly be a factor), but rather the winds, poor visibilities and extreme windchills.
Winds will be increasing by Saturday evening across southern MB with snow and strong winds continuing Saturday night through Sunday. As a result, there will be extensive blowing and drifting snow Sunday especially through the Red River valley and open areas along the US border with blizzard conditions possible. The Hwy 75 corridor will likely be very bad especially from south of Winnipeg down to Emerson where blizzard conditions are possible Sunday. Travel into the States this weekend is not advised due to this dangerous storm which will likely be shutting down highways across the Dakotas, and possibly parts of southern MB as well. Add to that bone-chilling wind chills of -40 or lower, and you have yourselves a serious winter storm. Get ready folks, this will make for an interesting end to the weekend..