In what has been the winter of Washington’s discontent, families decided to forget the time-honored tradition of buying shovels at local hardware stores Sunday, and instead, ushered in the approaching winter weather by taking to the ice.

Local hardware stores remained largely empty, hours before forecasters said a strong Nor’easter would push through the region. But Silver Spring’s ice skating rink at Veterans’ Plaza filled with people, with most eagerly anticipating winter’s return.

“I've been waiting for a while for this to happen,” rink employee Izzy Bari said in an interview Sunday. “Hopefully Montgomery County closes its schools Tuesday because we haven’t had a snow day yet.”

Two Strosniders ACE locations had aisles fully stocked with salt, sand and shovels. Scenes of mayhem were missing, as employees predicted most customers would wait until the last minute to stock up on supplies.

“We got really prepared, and nobody's coming in yet,” said employee Kevin Whitmon. “Hopefully tomorrow it'll get a little busy when they know this storm is actually brewing.”

Some admitted they may be testing their luck, or are treading on thin ice. Montgomery County resident Jeff Connor visited his local hardware store only for grilling supplies ahead of the snow.

“I'm just going to fire up the grill, get ready for the season, and I needed a new grill brush,” Connor said. “I absolutely am grilling tonight. I'm marinating chicken right now.”

The heaviest snow totals will accumulate in the western part of the Washington metropolitan area, with the District seeing up to six inches. Snow is expected to begin around 7 p.m. Monday lasting into Tuesday morning, with areas of Southern Maryland on the Delmarva Peninsula only seeing rain.