El Niño plays a critical role in southern Arizona during the winter months, but it gets a little more complicated when it begins to wind down in the spring and summer.
El Niño is expected to weaken dramatically from March through June; meaning the ocean temperatures in the central Pacific will drop; eventually back to average by the time our monsoon season begins.
The monsoon is always difficult to predict, and unfortunately a weakening El Niño event doesn't provide much help.
Our monsoons following significant El Niño events have given us both above average and below average rain totals.
We've had years with 10", and years with only 2".
Leaving us with just about the average of any given year.
Unfortunately there just isn't enough information for us to go on that will provide an accurate forecast for monsoon 2016.
Then there's hurricane season, which does have a direct correlation with El Niño. During El Niño events, the warm waters in the Pacific produce more hurricanes than normal. In the Atlantic, fewer hurricanes are produced. The roles may reverse as El Niño weakens later this year.
There is a 40% chance of La Niña developing this fall, which usually gives us a weaker hurricane season followed by a drier and warmer winter season.