A Blowing Snow Advisory has ended for the Red River Valley and parts of the Pembina Valley, and now our weather attention turns to the very cold conditions settling in this weekend.

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," said CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner.

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After a blustery start to Friday, the long talked about arrival of bitterly cold temperatures will no longer be just talk, but actually what we'll see and feel outside our doors. Today 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, and that end is today," said Sumner with 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 how long the cold will stick around.

"The latest runs of 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, may be 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.