WOODSTOCK, Ill. (CBS) — The far northwest suburbs will be the first to get the blast of winter weather headed for the Chicago area on Thursday, and they could get the worst of the storm in Illinois.

CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports north suburban residents were getting ready for heavy snowfall and high winds expected to hit on Thursday.

Those who will be battling the snow on Thursday said they expect the biggest problem will be the snow drifts.

Residents in Woodstock were getting ready for the first snowfall of the season, with a bit of excitement.

John Lamka was looking for the perfect shovel.

“Honestly, the snow, if it’s a wet snow, it traps in here and you gotta shake it,” he said.

Thursday’s forecast is like hitting the jackpot for Lamka, who owns a snow removal company, Lamka Enterprises.

“Looking for some shovels for my guys, something light that’ll hold up,” said Lamka. “This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

Inside the Blain’s Farm & Fleet store, Ben Popp and his girlfriend were picking up a few essentials for Thursday: a shovel and two ice scrapers.

“I’m excited, because it’ll be there for Christmas, so it’ll be a White Christmas. That’s good,” said Popp.

Across the street, in the Menard’s parking lot, Jose Santos was packing his Mustang trunk full of sandbags.

“I don’t trust this car in the snow,” he said.

Stores in the area said they expect to see a surge in customers after the snow makes an appearance.

The rain Thursday morning is expected to change over to snow around lunchtime in the northwest suburbs. They’ll be among the first to brave this system.

Salt piles that have been patiently waiting will be put to good use.

Woodstock Public Works assistant director Jeff VanLanduyt said there’s not much officials can do to prepare the roads until it stops raining, and starts snowing.

“Everything we put down will wash off, so we’re going to wait till we get some snow cover,” he said.

The Public Works Department in Woodstock said they’ll be monitoring the forecast closely, starting Thursday morning at 7 a.m.

Officials said drivers traveling during the changeover from rain to snow should be extra careful, and watch for black ice.

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