It’s time to say “hola” to El Niño. It is back and picking up steam with forecasters favoring a strong event later in the fall and winter. But what does a weak El Niño summer really mean?

Anthony Barnston with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), looked at what climate impacts are favored for summer in the United States.  It will likely peak in the fall, which leads federal forecasters to believe it won’t have a gangbuster influence on NOAA’s seasonal forecasts for coming summer months:

“While El Niño is the 800-pound gorilla in winter forecasts in the US, it is more like a tame, 6-pound Chihuahua in summer, as it is joined with, or preempted by, other considerations going into CPC’s seasonal outlook,” Barnston wrote.

CBS News adds in an article here that if El Niño does strength to become a strong El Niño event during the summer, it would steer heavy rainstorms toward the southern Plains and intermountain West.  

It is worth noting that California isn’t expected to see the drought-busting it rain it so needs. Currently 71 percent of the state is in extreme or worse drought.

Changes in the winter atmosphere are a different story:

But even with the odds stacked in favor of a wet winter for southern California, that doesn’t guarantee it.

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