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New York declares weather emergency

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(CNN) -- Buckets of snow falling in Boston. Ice cracking trees and bringing down power lines in the Northeast. Temperatures as much as 40 degrees below normal in the High Plains.

Another day, another storm, in what's proving to be a wet, wild and nasty winter.

From the Midwest to New England, more than 120 million people are yet again bundling up against cold, ice, snow or all three, according to CNN meteorologists.

Some are taking it in stride.

"Only perk of going to school in Boston: SNOW DAYSSSSSSSS," Facebook user Carla Torres posted.

Others were ready for it to be all over. One item frequently shared Wednesday over social media was a picture of an angry-looking baby, with the words "What do you mean more snow ..." superimposed on it.

Here's a look at what winter's bringing around the country:

Who's getting hit worst?

For snow and ice, parts of the Midwest and Northeast in a band running from Illinois east all the way to Maine. For cold temperatures, it's the nation's midsection, from Montana east to Wisconsin all the way south to northern Texas.

What's the forecast?

It's going to be awfully cold in the Plains and High Plains -- as much as 40 degrees below average in some places, according to the National Weather Service. In Helena, Montana, for instance, Wednesday's high is forecast to be 3 degrees below zero. That compares with 2 degrees on Tuesday and the average high of 36.

Snowy, icy conditions are expected from eastern Missouri into the Mid-Atlantic states and New England. Up to 2 inches of snow per hour may fall around Boston, with as much as a foot of snow predicted in parts of Massachusetts.

Who's being affected?

In New York, where heavy snows are taxing salt reserves, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared an emergency for the entire state and shut down Interstate 84.

"New Yorkers in affected regions should stay off the roads, check on their neighbors and loved ones, and stay inside their homes until the worst of the storm has passed," he said in a statement.

Transportation regulators waived rest rules for salt-truck drivers to get remaining salt stockpiles moved to where they are needed: New York City and Long Island.

In Pennsylvania, Villanova University announced that it would be closed Thursday and Friday after the school's power provider projected an extended outage in the area.

And in Kansas, authorities announced a third weather-related death from the storm: a 58-year-old man died overnight after a traffic accident Tuesday, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.

In Boston, the weather seemed little nuisance.

CNN iReporter Jenifer Schwartz, visiting from California, marveled at how the city handled the storm.

"My flight home today is one of the many that was canceled, but getting a cab this morning to get to meetings around the city did not prove to be too much of a problem," she said.

Relative Boston newcomer and native Southerner Josh Parsons was just trying to process it all.

"Since this is my first winter in the North, the snow still feels like a novelty to me," he told CNN on Wednesday. "I enjoy seeing it falling and enjoy walking around in it right after the fresh snow. Having said that, I do not like some of the things that come along with the snow."

Such as? Salt, slush and the simple fact all the snow just won't go away.

"The roads get cleared, the sidewalks get cleared, but then there are just mounds or brown, dirty ice piled up everywhere," he said.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, two Delta Air Lines aircraft got stuck in the snow in unrelated incidents at Detroit Metro Airport.

This comes a day after a Southwest Airlines plane hit a snowbank as it was taxiing to a gate in Kansas City, Missouri, according to airline spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger.

Nationwide, airlines had canceled nearly 2,800 flights, according to flight tracking website Flightaware.com.

Most-affected among major airports include New Jersey's Newark Liberty International, New York's LaGuardia and Boston Logan International.

The Federal Aviation Administration also reported significant delays at airports in Chicago, Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Why all the severe weather this winter?

Boston is about 8 inches ahead of its normal snowfall pace for the year, the National Weather Service said. In New York, the number is 23 inches.

It's not unusual or unprecedented, Radley Horton, a climate scientist with Columbia University, told CNN's New Day.

"If we look at winters in the past, we can get this kind of setup with a very wavy jet stream. Colder air spills into one side (while) the other side of the country has extremely warm weather," he said.

But climate change -- particularly the way melting Arctic sea ice may be affecting jet stream patterns -- could be increasing the frequency and severity of such wild weather rides, he said.

"There's always going to be variability," Horton said. "There's always going to be these waves in the jet stream. But it does seem, according to some research, as we lose that sea ice in the Arctic, one possible surprise could be more cold air spilling south, more warm air going north."

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