All that talk you've been hearing about El Niño coming to wash California out of its three-year drought: fahgettaboudit.
Federal scientists now say the odds of those peculiar ocean conditions often associated with wet winters here have diminished substantially, and there's now about a 65 percent chance of El Niño by late fall-early winter, right when we'd be hoping for rain and snow to return. As recently as a month ago, modelers at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center had those odds pegged closer to 80 percent.
More important is the anticipated strength of the pattern, which NOAA forecasters now characterize as "weak." That means that surface waters in the eastern Pacific aren't warming up as much as expected.
NASA climatologist Bill Patzert says he would "take it down another notch or two," even from that.
"It's a flop," says Patzert, who watches ocean and atmospheric patterns from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.