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Late-winter storm drops rain, hail and up to 1 ½ foot of snow in California


LOS ANGELES — A late-winter storm brought rain, lightning, hail and up to 1 ½ foot of snow in parts of California on Saturday.

A cold, low-pressure system began dropping snow in the Sierra Nevada late Friday, and ski resorts reported receiving 12 to 18 inches of snow at 8,000 to 10,000 feet, said Jim Matthews, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

"We are thrilled," Melissa Matheney, a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We couldn't be happier with this storm. It exceeded expectations, which is fantastic."

The storm brought scattered showers across the state, with less than an inch of rain falling in most locations.

A thunderstorm dropped a significant amount of hail in southeast San Jose. There was enough of the marble-sized hail for one child to build a snowman. However, the weather service posted a tweet advising residents that while the copious amount of hail "looked deceptively similar" to snow no snow fell below 4,000 feet on Saturday.

By late afternoon, the storm moved into the central and southern part of the state. The weather service said around 7 p.m., light rain moved toward the wildfire-scarred hillsides above Glendora and Asuza east of Los Angeles, the site of the devastating Colby Fire in January 2014. Previous storms unleashed a debris flow down streets in the area.

Forecasters said as much as a foot of snow could fall from Saturday through Monday in the San Bernardino and Angeles national forests. Before the weekend storm, a spell of dry weather had some Southern California ski resorts talking about closing.

"They could see some good snow, at least helpful snow, for this time of year," said Brett Albright, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Diego.

The amount of rainfall is expected to vary across the region, with heavier showers hitting some spots and not others.

The storm could dump up to an inch and a half of rain at lower elevations in San Diego County, Albright said.

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