Remember that "weak" El Niño that was supposed to develop this winter? Well, it's March, and it just got here.

As predicted back in October, this season's ocean warming was not on track to produce the kind of strong El Niño weather pattern that would make a significant dent in the crusty, parched surfaces of California. Sure, we've had some sprinkles and a few downpours, but January was rainless — at least in Northern California — and winter's almost over.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration just today announced, "The long-anticipated El Niño has finally arrived," but because it's so weak and so late, "widespread or significant global weather pattern impacts are not anticipated." The only thing that might happen is an uptick in wet weather for the Gulf Coast.

For the uninitiated, an El Niño year results from warming ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific, and can have various global impacts when temperatures rise above a certain level. The last strong El Niño in the winter of 1997-98 dumped tons of rain on California that didn't let up until April. Every El Niño since then, however, has been weak to moderate. La Niña patterns, which sometimes follow El Niños, can mean dryer than normal winters, though that is not guaranteed.

There is about a 50 percent chance El Niño conditions will continue through summer, so maybe this means some extra spring skiing?