Back in April, meteorologists were hesitantly optimistic. But now as ocean temperatures in the Pacific are heading record highs with no signs of stopping, some weather people are getting downright bullish that this won't just be another El Niño year, this is going to be a BIG El Niño year, guaranteeing some (hopefully) drought-busting rain for California.
Rains are never guaranteed for the West Coast during an El Niño, but as KQED reports, "the so-called 'strong' events are reliable rainmakers for California," and all signs point to this being the strongest since 1997. Does anybody remember the winter of '97/'98? SF got double its usual rainfall that year (and double, at this point, wouldn't actually completely save the state from its current water deficit.)
NASA climatologist Bill Patzert, the same guy who predicted this fire season would be off-the-charts bad, says this is "Not a puny El Niño but a Godzilla El Niño. This is much stronger than we’ve seen this is the biggest signal since 1997.”
One more piece that still must fall into place, however, is a "large-scale collapse of the trade winds systems" according to another climatologist, which will guarantee us a strong El Niño.
Also, don't get confused with the warm water "blob" that's been much discussed off the Pacific coast, which is being driven by a totally different mechanism than the cyclical El Niño.