Extreme cold weather expected to linger, says Environment Canada.

Environment Canada says it’s not about how cold it is, but how long this wave of frigid air will stay around that’s unusual.Meteorologist Alexandre Parent said Wednesday the big chill is affecting the Prairies, Ontario and western Quebec, and was headed for the Maritimes.

Today early morning, an Environment Canada map showed extreme cold weather warnings across much of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, a large swath of Ontario and parts of Quebec, as well as special weather statements for Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Parent said northern Ontario is hardest hit by the cold snap, with temperatures expected to feel like –50 with the wind chill in some places. He said, “The size of this cold wave in terms of geographical distribution is quite exceptional for this early in the winter season.What’s also exceptional is the duration of this episode, noting that the extreme cold weather could hang over Quebec for the next seven days.”

Parent said he had to go back to 1993 to find a similar cold spell between Christmas and Jan 1.Temperatures were colder then, but the extreme cold didn’t stay around for long.

Police said that a 77-year-old man died from hypothermia Tuesday after leaving his vehicle following a crash in Hamilton.