District 7 of the Minnesota Department of Transportation covers 13 counties in southern Minnesota and all of them are preparing for what's headed our way.

Beginning around 6 a.m. Friday near the border of Iowa, thunder storms will begin to form and head north.

But the main event will come Friday night, when wind speeds and cold temperatures join the rain and those unknown variables have tied the hands of those planning to work on the roads this weekend.

MnDot highway maintenance supervisor Tony DeSantiago said "If it's rain and if it starts icing up. Well if it's rain and ice mixed together, we put it down but of course it dilutes it out right away. It's kind of a wait and see how we take care of this animal because we got to see what it's going to do before we know actually what we're going to do."

MnDoT will not be pre–treating the roads before Friday, because the rain will just wash the salt brine away.

Motorists who plan on traveling Friday night or Saturday morning should expect a sudden change in the forecast.

KEYC News 12 meteorologist Tom Clements said "We already have rain and we have wind, now we have those cooler temperatures. So, now those cooler temperatures are going to cool off that rain. Then, we're going to see that transition from rain to sleet, ice, then snow as we go into your Saturday morning. So, things are going to change very dramatically as we go into Friday and Saturday."

Clements adds that the temperature on Saturday will be the determining factor for how dangerous and intense conditions will be.

Two degrees either way will not only determine how much snow we'll get, but the degree of ice both on and off streets and highways.

DeSantiago added "Freezing rain makes a real serious situation for us. Not only on the roads but it freezes on the trees and we could have trees come down, we could have power lines come down. It's just not good."

MnDot encourages the public to use the 511 system to stay up to date with road conditions as well as see what they look like through on board cameras from their trucks.

An estimated four to 12 inches of snow are expected with temperatures reaching as low as 29 degrees over the next two days.

Winds gusts could get as high as 45 miles per hour and the region is currently under a Winter Storm Watch.

- KEYC 12