Breezy, gusty, blustery or windy... no matter how you describe the wind was being talked about Wednesday. Yesterday, Environment Canada issued a Special Weather Statement for much of Southern Manitoba ahead of what was expected to be a pretty windy day, with gusts up to 80 km/h possible in the Red River Valley and other regions of the province.

"The wind came from the significant pressure gradient, or pressure difference, between the low pressure system that was moving through and exiting the province Wednesday and the surface high pressure ridging based over the western Prairies," explained CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. "That ridging has now built in over our area, and that means a return to light breezes and lots of sunshine, but that will be dependent on just how smoky it gets today."

For the latest forecast details, click here.

Wednesday's strong northwesterly winds moved a plume of forest fire smoke southward, and air quality will be less than optimal over southern Manitoba today. With that in mind, Special Air Quality Statements remain in effect for much of the region.

Improvement is expected later on Thursday as the current smoke plume is pushed off to the east, followed by southerly winds developing for most of the province.

"We're expecting highs between 23 and 25 today, which is a few degrees below what we could be, but the thick smoke in the atmosphere will keep daytime highs a little cooler, blocking out some of the sun's energy," added Sumner.

The following peak wind gust recordings are courtesy the Manitoba Ag Weather Network and Environment Canada:

Minnedosa - 79 km/h

Clearwater - 78 km/h

Pilot Mound – 75 km/h

Cartwright - 73 km/h

Baldur - 72 km/h

Morris - 71 km/h

Manitou - 70 km/h

Kane - 67 km/h

Brunkild - 66 km/h

Winnipeg (airport) – 65 km/h

Melita/Elm Creek – 65 km/h

Altona - 62 km/h

Dominion City - 60 km/h

Steinbach/Winkler – 59 km/h

Morden – 57 km/h

Somerset – 56 km/h

Gretna – 52 km/h

Carman/Emerson – 50 km/h

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