Some Illinois residents said they were happy to see flakes Thursday as a winter storm dropped the first significant snowfall of the season on the state.
The abrupt shift in weather came a day after Rockford recorded a record high temperature of 57 degrees, according to the National Weather Service's preliminary temperature figures. Thursday was a different story with the forecast calling for several inches of snow throughout the state.
Mike Norman, 44, of Evanston, said he was looking forward to the challenge of running in the snow.
"It's one of my favorite times of year to run. It's clean. It's crisp. It's quiet," Norman said. "It's fun to put footsteps in the fresh snow."
He co-founded Chicago Endurance Sports, which offers a Winter Warriors program to help runners stay committed to their training and teach them about the right gear for winter. But so far this season, the Winter Warriors haven't had a chance to do battle with the weather.
"We had people out last night running in shorts," Norman said Thursday, a day after temperatures reached above 50 degrees.
The staff at Snowstar Winter Sports Park in northwest Illinois anticipates a big weekend. Teresa Kolls of Snowstar said the park makes its own snow, but the park got a late start, opening its ski runs the day after Christmas. Kolls said the snowfall will fill in the trails between the ski runs, turning the park into a "winter wonderland" and bringing out crowds.
"This is the first real snowfall we've had. It definitely helps us," Kolls said.
Cook County's forest preserves are offering sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at a number of locations.
As Chicagoans prepared for their first significant snowfall of 2012, Eight Forty-Eight wanted to pass along some information that might help get Chicagoans ready.
WBEZ reporter Jennifer Brandel, Worldview host Jerome McDonnell, WBEZ's Richard Steele joined the show to offer their advice to survive the season's first winter storm.