It is looking more and more like the weather pattern will change for the active, and a little sooner than originally thought. Wednesday will still be mostly sunny, dry and warm ahead of the first weak cold front that moves through the region Thursday. There is only a slight chance that first system will be able to overcome the shadowing effect of the mountains and produce valley rain, but the mountains should pick up some high elevation snow Thursday and Friday. A series of colder systems move through the region over the weekend, and it looks like the active storm track will stick around at least halfway through the next week.
Perhaps apropos of the above forecast, the easy answer to “What happened to El Niño?” is “Nothing at all.” El Niño has remained in the equatorial eastern Pacific throughout our dry February (although it has probably peaked), but it is very important to remember that El Niño isn’t the tail that wags the whole weather dog. There are numerous other factors that come into play. It’s very common during even strong El Niños that we have a dry month amongst wet ones, and the wet periods can be cyclical within each season. And all indications point to entering another one.