Colder temperatures and snow predictions have area residents stocking up on winter supplies.
"Today, everyone's been here getting kerosene, propane, ice melt, snow shovels and heaters," Courtney Rider, a cashier at Town & Country True Value Hardware in Benton, said Tuesday afternoon.
"I've been here since 10 a.m., and already we've sold so much kerosene. Within eight minutes, we filled eight jugs!" Rider said.
The National Weather Service's office in Paducah, Ky., has issued a winter storm warning and hazardous weather outlook for most of Southern Illinois, along with parts of Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana.
"A quick but widespread winter weather event" is expected to move into the Quad-State region, the NWS said.
"Snow accumulation will be the greatest between midnight through daybreak, with visibilities in the snow dropping below a mile at times."
Joe Buchanan, assistant manager at Four Seasons Ace Hardware in Benton, said the store has been "selling a ton of kerosene and propane" -- along with other items to help combat frigid weather.
"We've been selling a lot of heat tapes, plumbing supplies for lines that have busted, lots of insulation," Buchanan said. "We've sold a little ice melt and not very many snow shovels or sleds -- but we've got plenty of ice melt, and the snow shovels are out, ready to go!"
Kerosene, available in 2.5-gallon containers, is also one of the hot items at Rural King in West City.
"We've got snow shovels out front and ice melt," Rural King manager Ed Belmont said. "We've not been in the rush-rush just yet. People actually tend to wait until snow is on the ground."
Heaters and ice-melt products were the main winter items being sold Tuesday, Belmont said -- and customers can expect the store to have supplies on hand when necessary.
"We react to it," he said. "Last year, we had that nasty snow and ice storm. Within 10 hours, we had three semi loads of generators here."
Charlie Tuggle of Buckner was among those who had their kerosene containers filled Tuesday at Town & Country.
"I've been putting it off," Tuggle said, "but if the power goes out, I have the kerosene heater as a backup."
Two to four inches of snow are expected, the NWS said, and "strong northwest winds on Thursday may cause a period of blowing snow ... (which) will likely cause travel impacts across the region."
True Value service manager Ed Finley of Benton said he spent many years residing up north.
"I'm from Michigan," Finley said. "That ain't snow -- that's just enough to irritate and aggravate!"
Southern Illinois residents can also expect a continuation of the cold temperatures.
"The anticipated snow pack and another surge of arctic air and in the wake of the system will drive temperatures into the single digits to near zero Friday night and Saturday night" -- with wind chills below zero, the NWS said.