El Nino is likely to return for the next rainy season. Just how strong it will be is uncertain, however, we need to keep it below a Super El Nino or we may once again fail to have the normally great pattern produce. It is abnormal for strong El Ninos to show up two years apart.

During the 2015-2016 Super El Nino, we had the drought continue, with storms missing us to the north. This was due to something I’ve aptly named ‘The Martin El Nino Anomaly’, where the El Nino was so strong that warm water due west of Southern California created a strong surface high-pressure center, which deflected the storms to the north. This was predicted here at SCWF nicely before the season started, saying that it could very well be too strong to produce what El Nino normally does.

During our current season that is ending soon, a neutral condition that was neither El Nino or La Nina produced the needed pattern for multiple storms to bring the drought way down. This is the usual cause with a neutral ENSO.