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    Snow to Hit Donner Pass this Weekend

    By By John Kocet, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
    November 21, 2010, 12:31:18 AM EST

    Beginning Friday night and lasting into Sunday, the Sierra Nevada range will be subjected to a big snow event.

    The storm will unfold as much colder air arrives in the upper atmosphere, while a storm pulls in very moist air from the Pacific.


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    The snow will be very heavy at times, and I-80 over Donner Summit may close. Total storm accumulations will range from 6-12 inches at 6,000 feet to 18 to 24 inches at 7,000 feet.

    The snow that comes to the Sierra Nevada range from November on is often quite heavy, dumping as much as 2 to 3 feet in a 24-hour period. Snow of this magnitude will often close Interstate 80 over Donner Summit (elevation 7,000 feet).

    When this type of excessive snow falls, plows become useless, and snow removal from railroad tracks and highways is done by massive rotary snow blowers.

    Donner Pass is, of course, infamous for what happened during the winter of 1846-47.

    A group of pioneers traveling west experienced many delays along the way and wound up getting snowbound in the High Sierra. If they could have just made it another 40 miles they would have been safe.

    The snowstorms were relentless that season, and the group of settlers (referred to as the Donner Party) spent the entire winter at the pass named in their memory. Some of the emigrants resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Out of the 87 members of the original wagon train, only 48 survived to reach California.

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