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Holiday travelers stopped by traffic, crashes and lots of snow in the Sierra

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(KTXL) -- Everything travelers have been warned about for several days started up Tuesday afternoon, with heavy snow leading to serious issues, especially along Interstate 80 over the Sierra.

Just one day after putting out a 350-acre fire in Placer County, Cal Fire crews began assisting travelers with injuries in a snowstorm. A wreck near Alta involved several cars and a plow.

Alejandro Santiago, from Stockton, got stuck in the snow because his tire chains did not work.

"It's not fun out here," he told FOX40. "It's not worth it."

Just a few feet away, the Espinozas from Martinez were having their car hooked up to a tow truck.

"We couldn't put our chains on, and so got stuck," they explained.

The driver with Five Star Towing had a stern message for the unprepared -- "Stay off the mountain."

The snow started falling steadily between 1 and 2 p.m., even at low elevations.

Colfax was at a safe enough elevation to take the kids to see some snow without getting stuck. But just a few miles east, travelers were getting turned around at Alta between 3 and 5 p.m. because of spin-outs and accidents up the mountain.

“When you go to the ocean and see 10-foot waves you don’t jump in,” said Marcy Dolan, who commutes once a week between Truckee and Sacramento. “Driving in winter conditions is pretty comparable. Just because the road is open doesn’t mean that you should get to go.”

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