The bone-chilling temperatures that have gripped much of the county are expected to linger until the weekend as forecasters warn Canadians to bundle up against the bitter cold.

Wind chill warnings are in effect across Eastern Canada Wednesday, with some schools in New Brunswick closing their doors as the temperature dips to -41 C with the wind chill.

Cold air from the Arctic pushed by northwesterly winds has left northern Nova Scotia in a deep freeze with temperatures that will feel like -35 C, while snow squall warnings have been issued for parts of Newfoundland, where up to 20 centimetres of snow is in the forecast.

In Quebec, wind chill warnings are in effect for Montreal and Quebec City. The sunny skies will do little to battle the plunging temperatures, with a high of -21 C forecast in Montreal and -22 C in the province’s capital.

The cold snap has sent temperatures plunging in Ontario to unseasonable lows.

Ottawa was at its coldest in eight years, hovering around –27 C in the morning, but feeling more like –38 C with the wind chill.

The mercury dipped to -21 C in Toronto on Wednesday morning, feeling like -28 C with the wind chill, as the city experienced the this winter’s coldest day yet.

Through the Prairie provinces, the day’s forecast highs range between -24 C and -26 C. Winnipeg is under an extreme weather alert with a wind chill feeling like -41 C, while winds in Regina are making it feel like -39 C.

According to Environment Canada, the risk of frostbite increases rapidly when the wind chill values dips below -27C.

The agency says the best way to avoid the wind chill is to simply take shelter from its gusts.

A statement on Environment Canada’s website says heat loss can also be minimized by wearing insulated clothing.

“Good quality clothing with high insulating properties traps air, creating a thicker boundary layer around the body which keeps in the heat. Wet clothing and footwear lose their insulating properties, resulting in body-heat loss nearly equal to that of exposed skin.”

The cold spell is expected to ease as the week continues, with temperatures in most parts of Canada warming up by early next week.