Forecasters are trying to increase the amount of lead time they can give the world in the event of another major El Niño, but the challenge is that the weather patterns in the equatorial Pacific are fickle in the first half of the year; even significant trends can stall or even reverse course.
By July, the models are more reliable and forecasters are better able to predict what kind of patterns might develop in the latter half of the year. For now, NOAA is predicting a 50–60% chance that El Niño conditions could continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer.