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Federal Scientists Finally Declare El Niño Over

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(Photo by myles via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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So long El Niño, we hardly knew you. Or even felt you.On Thursday, federal climatologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared, "The king is dead!"

"We're sticking a fork in this El Niño and calling it done," writes NOAA scientists over at Climate.gov. "After spending more than a year above average, sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific had mostly returned to near average by the end of May."

Most of us in Southern California are probably thinking to ourselves, "lol tell us something we didn't know already." But in fact, El Niño did actually have a pretty good showing in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. They're not sure why it left SoCal so dry, but they suspect it had something to do with a "blob" of warm water off the coast.

So that Godzilla El Niño that was too big to fail" and act as a "conveyor belt" of rain was a total dud. From October 1 to Wednesday of this week, downtown L.A. received 6.88 inches of rain, according to the L.A. Times. Over the same period the year before, downtown got 7.71 inches, and the annual average over that timespan is 14.59 inches. The drought is still on guys, so don't water your lawn or wash your car.

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"Everybody that was looking at it was expecting a 'Godzilla' El Niño," National Weather Service specialist Stuart Seto told the Times. "But nature has its way."

So what's in store for us next? La Niña, of course! "There's an approximately 65% chance that sea surface temperatures will drop into the La Niña realm (more than 0.5 degrees below normal) by the July - September period," writes NOAA. "This chance increases to around 75% by the fall."

La Niña means colder sea surface temperatures in the Pacific—the opposite of El Niño, and with climate conditions being affected likewise. Our winter will probably be drier than expected.

Oh well.

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