The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says a weak La Niña event lingered through December, but it expects ENSO-neutral conditions to develop next month and linger for several months. According to official probabilities, it gives less than 40% odds of El Niño developing by October.
But NOAA points out that even as the tropical Pacific Ocean returns to ENSO-neutral conditions, the atmospheric impacts from La Niña could persist. "The current seasonal outlook for JFM (January-March) 2017 favors above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation across much of the southern tier of the U.S., and below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation in portions of the northern tier of the United States."
The National Weather Service will issue its forecast for February through April on Thursday, Jan. 19."