Ottawa's extremely cold January could reach a new level of cold Tuesday night, with potential record-breaking temperatures in the forecast.

Environment Canada is predicting temperatures will drop to between -27 C and -34 C Tuesday night, with wind chill values making it feel as cold as -40.

Wednesday morning could reach -31 C. If it does, that would be Ottawa's coldest temperature in 26 years.

"This is about as frigid and as snowy as it possibly can get in the Ottawa area,” Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV News Ottawa.

“And it’s the duration of the cold that is quite headline-making. You just don’t see that length of freezing that goes on for so long.”

The weather agency has issued several extreme cold warnings this month. Phillips said there have been 11 days this month colder than the coldest moment all of last winter. 

Temperatures that cold can lead to frostbite developing within minutes on exposed skin. Ottawa Public Health has issued a frostbite warning for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

However, it could be worse if conditions were windier, Phillips noted.

"Mercifully, it’s without the wind chill,” he said. “The wind chill could make it -37 because the winds are rather light. If they had been stronger it would have been flesh-freezing weather in a matter of seconds.”

The frigid temperatures will continue throughout the day Wednesday. Expect sunshine and a high of -19 C, with the wind chill making it feel more like -23 C in the afternoon. The risk of frostbite will continue throughout the day.

Phillips said there is an end in sight for the frigid temperatures: February will be seasonable or even warmer than normal.

"Seasonable is balmy compared to what you've had."