Ontario and Quebec are back in the depths of polar vortex-generated, bone-chilling cold today, with temperatures plunging to the –20 C range in Ottawa and Toronto.

Temperatures on Tuesday ranged from the minus high teens to high –30s across both provinces.

Temperatures will remain cold until the weekend, with Toronto and Ottawa topping out at –17 C and –20 C and feeling around (or below) the –30 mark on Wednesday morning with wind chill, CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland reported.

Widespread wind chill warnings are in effect until tomorrow morning from Kenora, Ont., all the way east to Saguenay, Que., and south to the Niagara Region. 

"Exposed skin could suffer frostbite in a matter of minutes," Scotland said. "It's certainly important to make sure the kids are bundled up. Keep the pets indoors."

There is harsher weather ahead for Atlantic Canada, however, with a severe storm moving into the Maritimes through to Wednesday.

"Blizzard warnings are out for eastern New Brunswick, P.E.I. and much of Nova Scotia, and winter storm watches are out for Newfoundland — all in advance of this next winter storm," Scotland said.

In Nova Scotia, some areas are being advised to expect as much as 50 centimetres of snow and winds up to 80 km/h.

In New Brunswick, up to 30 centimetres of snow combined with wind gusts of up to 60 km/h bring the risk of widespread blowing snow.

Prince Edward Island is warned to expect up to 40 centimetres of snow in some areas, while Newfoundland and Labrador is bracing for as much as 20 centimetres of snow and winds of 110 km/h.

U.S. storm system heads for Atlantic Canada

In the U.S., another system with heavy snow and frigid temperatures swept Virginia to New England as a winter storm bore down on the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

"If you're flying to New York, Boston, Philadelphia [or] Washington, check for delays," Scotland advised.

Toronto Weather 20140120

Cold enough for you? Apparently not for this man, who went jogging in frigid temperatures outside city hall in Toronto on Monday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The National Weather Service warned of heavy snowfall, high winds and hazardous driving conditions throughout the day Tuesday as the storm moved up the East Coast.

The storm system is expected to reach Atlantic Canada by midnight Tuesday, bringing heavy snow, strong winds and whiteout conditions, said CBC meteorologist Michelle Leslie. Halifax could see more than 30 centimetres of snow by Wednesday afternoon.

New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization is advising motorists to stay off the roads Wednesday unless necessary and to prepare emergency kits for their homes and cars. 

"There's a good chance that we could see some school and school bus cancellations tomorrow," said Scotland, adding that ferries could also be affected. "Be sure you have alternative power, a generator, or you've got some batteries in the flashlight, because power outages could be an issue as well."

With files from The Associated Press