Between the daytime highs nearly ten degrees above average, the very strong southerly winds and the dusty conditions produced by the combination of both, it was quite the Thursday across the Central Plains and Pembina Valley. In fact, Portage la Prairie tied a modern-day record with the temperature almost reaching 26 degrees.

And why was it so windy, yesterday?

"We had an area of low pressure approaching from our west, and with the surface high pressure that was over the region at the time, the air between the two was getting squished together," explained CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. "The counterclockwise motion of the low led to the gusty southerly winds, and the pressure gradient between the two airmasses amplified how breezy it got."

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The gusty winds are expected to continue Friday, but not to the same extent as Thursday when there were some reported peek wind gusts nearing 80km/h. Thunderstorms are also in the area early today.

Below are some of the highest winds recorded by Environment Canada and the Manitoba Ag Weather Network:

Kane/Morris - 79 km/h
Portage - 70 km/h
Altona - 69 km/h
Winkler - 68/km
Pilot Mound - 65 km/h
Carman - 62 km/h
Cypress River - 59 km/h
Morden - 55 km/h
Gimli - 51 km/h
Brandon - 50 km/h

April is the windiest month in southern Manitoba, and our region is the tenth windiest area in all of Canada, according to Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips with Environment Canada. He says the average prevailing wind tends to be from the south at 19 kilometers per hour.

“If you ranked all the cities in Canada from one to one hundred, Winnipeg, which is very indicative of what the winds would be in southern Manitoba, it would rank about the tenth windiest city in the country.

blowing dustdust blowing in the wind was the norm in open areas of the region yesterday

Meanwhile, on the temperature side of things, highs soared to nearly ten degrees above average across much of the region, with 16 the usual for this point in April. Below are some of daytime highs recorded by Environment Canada. All readings in Celsius.

Morden - 25.5
Portage - 25.3 (tied a record)
Carman - 24.7
Pilot Mound - 24.6
Carberry - 24.3
Winnipeg (The Forks) - 23.2

Meanwhile, Sumner noted, as we get into the weekend, conditions will change considerably with cooler temperatures and showers expected.

"We have a couple things at play, a cold front will pass through today as a low crosses the province, and as it does we'll see temperatures drop this afternoon into the upper single-digits between 7 and 9 degrees," he said. "Alongside that, this low will lead to showers developing this morning. Next, a low moving through the central U.S. Plains will 'take over' from the Manitoba low, if you will, and continue the showers and periods of rain through Friday night and into Saturday morning. The clouds should start clearing by early Saturday afternoon, with some peeks of sunshine."

And that's only the start of the precipitation this weekend, which Sumner stressed is certainly needed across the region.

"A final system is forecast to take a similar track to the second one, again moving through the U.S. Plains northeastward, and that will bring additional rain chance Sunday into Monday," he added. 

Temperatures are expected to remain below average from Friday afternoon through Monday, struggling to get much warmer than 8 to 10 degrees. Sumner expects a southerly flow to return Tuesday into Wednesday, and that will mean a rebound in daytime highs back to seasonal, or slightly above, by the first day or two of May.