LOS ANGELES — A cold spring storm left some California mountains coated Friday with the kind of snowfalls that winter largely failed to deliver, while scattered downpours doused other parts of the drought-stricken state.
The hit-and-miss system blanketed patches of the Sierra Nevada in white, and a May snow day shuttered schools in the Rim of the World district atop the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.
Several inches fell in tiny Lee Vining, a town with about 200 people at 6,700 feet just east of Yosemite National Park.
"It's more than we got all winter!" said Leslie Rangel, who works at Nicely's restaurant. The snow was heavy and wet, but it was not likely to stick around long because temperatures were rising fast, she said.
In the San Bernardino range, preschool teacher Karen Day said the weather turned windy and cold overnight in Running Springs, and the community woke up to 3 inches of snow — enough for children to build a snowman.
"We didn't think we'd get this much — we thought maybe a dusting," she said.
The low-pressure system began moving south through California on Thursday, bringing snow to parts of the Sierra, where peaks that normally hold a vast water supply have been devoid of a significant snowpack after another dry year.
More than a foot of snow fell in some areas south of U.S. 50, according to the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.
That's the general area where Gov. Jerry Brown stood April 1 in dry brown grass at what would normally be a snowpack depth-measuring site and ordered mandatory water restrictions because of the yearslong drought.
This week's dousing, however, will not ease the state's worsening water shortage.
In Southern California, the National Weather Service said up to 6 inches of snow fell in the mountains and rainfall totals ranged widely from a few tenths of an inch to more than 1 inch.
Paul Caballero, 53, took a break from his work as a repairman in San Diego to stroll in the rain past empty seaside restaurants Friday.
"I'm trying to enjoy this as much as I can while it lasts," he said. "It's better than being inside a car on the freeway right now. We'll take whatever comes in, and I don't think it's going to be enough for our thirsty lakes."
Visiting from Las Vegas, Wes Villaneuva, 37, stood on a soggy San Diego beach while his 8-year-old son ran through the surf and collected rainwater in his sand toys.
"Nothing's going to stop us from enjoying ourselves," he said. "It's still pretty beautiful out here. We're planning on getting wet."
AP writer Amy Taxin contributed to this report from Tustin; Julie Watson contributed from San Diego; John Antczak contributed from Los Angeles.