After the wettest December on record and some heartening gains for reservoirs, our luck could be drying up.

Yes yes, the winter season promised to us by forecasters as a Godzilla El Niño the likes of which we'd never before seen might have delivered some of the water we needed to combat the long-running California drought. But now the Chronicle reporting on seasonal forecasts from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society informs us that El Niño could have already peaked, and its drier sibling system, La Niña, might well prolong arid conditions.

February has been noticebly dry and April and May should provide more of the same, so "March is key,” chief forecaster with the institute Tony Barnston tells the Chron. "That’s where we’re hoping to make up a lot of ground.”

Then, after the Spring, things get dicier. Barnston puts the chances of a La Niña pattern at 51 percent. “We’ve seen some La Niñas come in after strong El Niño years,” he recalls. “We saw one after the El Niño of ’97-’98, and there was a borderline La Niña after the ’82-’83 El Niño. If we do get it, it usually means below-average precipitation for the winter months.”

Previously: Thanks, El Niño: Sierra Snowpack Hits Five-Year High