Montrealers got a taste of winter’s wrath on Wednesday and, as bad as it was, Environment Canada is warning it will likely be even worse on Thursday as an extreme cold warning has been issued.

“We’re in the heart of it today and tomorrow,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Alexandre Parent. “Tomorrow morning, with the wind chill, we might approach a value near -40 for Montreal. If we look beyond, we’ll stay in that cold air.”

Environment Canada is warning Quebecers to dress warmly and to watch for colour changes on fingers and toes, as well as pain, numbness, swelling or a tingling sensation, which could be signs of impending frostbite.

While Wednesday was cold, Parent noted it was not a record for Dec. 27. That’s still held by Dec. 27, 1993, when temperatures dipped to -24.

Environment Canada is forecasting that the cold snap could last into the first week of the new year, with temperatures expected to hover between a high of -14 and a low of -26.

Wednesday’s cold snap came as the city’s snow removal operation got underway, following a 25 centimetre snowfall earlier this week.

City spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said the operation is on schedule.

“We expect it’s going to be done before your guests arrive for New Year’s Eve,” he said.

He warned drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to keep a reasonable distance from snow removal machinery.

“Our best advice would be to stay away from the convoy,” he said. “Be careful. This is the buzzword during the snow removal operation.”

Sabourin encouraged drivers to check the city’s Info-Neige app to find parking.