Hardware stores like Home Depot saw a frenzy of activity Thursday as Chicago residents rushed to buy seasonal equipment to battle the anticipated snowstorm.
"I'm 74 and I'm looking for an electric start because I know the snow is coming and I want to be ready for it," said Frank Morris, Home Depot shopper.
"They often wait til the last minute until they hear it's going to snow, then they all come in," said Joshua Verdon, Home Depot employee.
Icy conditions are expected to develop out of the rain that began early Thursday afternoon.
The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation said it has 285,000 tons of salt on hand, in addition to 284 snow vehicles and plows on standby.
"We have big concerns regarding ice so we're asking people to drive cautiously and carefully and that's why we have so many pieces of equipment out," said Charles Williams, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.
Williams says the city is prepared for the storm. The department is implementing its real-time Plow Tracker, which allows the public to see snow plow locations throughout the city. Snow plows can be tracked through this link: cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/iframe/plow_tracker.html.
Some residents- including a UIC student who hails from Taiwan- are actually looking forward to wintry weather.
"In Taiwan the weather is seldom like this and I haven't seen snow yet... I'm very excited," said Bon Lee, UIC MBA student.
"I don't do much playing in the snow, but for Christmas it would be nice to have a little bit of snow on the ground," T.J. Olsen, a North Side resident.
Others are enjoying the light rain before the season's first snow.
"It's definitely been a weird season. It's days away from Christmas and it feels like a Spring day," said Chicagoan John Paciga.