Folks in the southwest have surely felt the recent steep dip in temperature, which is looking to be the trend for the week according to Environment Canada. 

From today through Friday, daytime highs range from -17 to -24, with a windchill of -30 today and as cold as -38 tomorrow.

Warning Preparedness Meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natalie Hasell, explained the sudden shift.

"These things do happen quickly sometimes," she said. "So right now, looking at our surface analysis, we see a ridge of high pressure centered over Northwest Territories, but it basically extends across the prairies. Furthermore, there is a low-pressure center sitting in Montana. These two systems are set up to give you very cold weather."

Hasell said that the circulation around Montana's low is preventing warm air from reaching the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, while simultaneously the ridge from up north is allowing cold air to make its way down. 

Partly cloudy skies overnight allow for any warm air to escape, with those low temperatures for the week ranging from -25 to -38.

"We have just enough wind to make windchill values kind of important; colder than we've had in the last while, that's for sure," Hasell said. "And we might not be quite reaching warning criteria in the southwestern part of the province, but you'll come pretty close. People perhaps should behave as though an extreme cold warning is in effect because you're not very far. You have a risk of frostbite, risk of hypothermia--all of the things that we talked about earlier in the winter during cold season applies here again. And we're not done. It's just the third week of February."

The temperature is set to improve by the weekend, with an expected high of +1 for Sunday, as of today. 

"I'm not too convinced it's actually going to happen," Hasel added. "But it is at least closer to seasonal and not quite as dangerous as what you're going to experience before the weekend. So, brace yourself, hold tight, dress properly, stay out of the cold as much as possible."

More details about staying safe in cold temperatures can be found on Environment Canada's website