"I didn't even have my coat on at the airport, it was so nice," said Walaska, 32. "I'm walking out to the car and my husband is all bundled up in a jacket. I'm like, 'Are you for real?'"
In the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of California's citrus production, growers saw little crop damage.
They ran wind machines and water to protect their fruit, which can raise the temperature in a grove by up to 4 degrees, said Paul Story, director of grower service at California Citrus Mutual. Existing moisture, sporadic rain and cloud cover also helped keep in heat.
A 40-mile stretch of a major highway north of Los Angeles reopened some 17 hours after snow shut the route and forced hundreds of truckers to spend the cold night in their rigs.
The California Highway Patrol shut the Grapevine segment of Interstate 5 on Thursday afternoon, severing a key link between the Central Valley and Los Angeles.
"There must have been 1,000 Mack trucks lined up," said traveler Heidi Blood, 40.
Associated Press writers Gosia Wozniacki in Fresno and Chris Carlson in Orange contributed to this report.