Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta as well as U.S. neighbour North Dakota are in a mid-December deep freeze, with temperatures as much as 15 to 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.
The thermometer will plummet overnight and into Tuesday in Winnipeg, where the overnight low is expected to be –32 C.
CBC meteorologist John Sauder said it could be worse as the record cold for Dec. 15 was –37 C, set in the 1800s. But Sauder said there is no let-up to the cold snap in the immediate future.
Tow-truck operators were busy Monday, with motorists waiting hours for a tow or a boost.
In North Dakota on the weekend, a storm closed highways and stranded motorists.
Leo Ledohowski, CEO of Canad Inns, was at the company's Grand Forks, N.D., location, where he was stuck along with other Canadians visiting the state for holiday shopping.
"It's brutal out there," said Ledohowski. "Absolutely totally brutal. It's been a long time since I've seen something like this. You can't see far, the wind's blowing, the snow's falling.
"Even some of these people ... I feel sorry they're going shopping ... they're going to come out and there's gonna be a drift behind their cars."
Winnipegger Wes Van Bruggen, also out shopping, had a strategy to cope with the cold in the Manitoba capital.
"Wearing more layers, wearing an extra pair of socks, and I haven't taken my longjohns off in like two weeks ... ha ha ha."
Carmen Cruz moved to Winnipeg from Mexico last year.
He was so layered with clothing, he looked a lot like the Michelin Man.
"One shirt, one sweater, two sweater, other sweater, my big jacket, three pants."