This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://coastsider.com/site/news/animation_compares_1997_vs._2015_el_ninos_side_by_side
It’s hard to tell what this means without knowing what these patterns look like in a typical year, but they do seem uncannily similar.
Aside from the usual unpredictability of El Niño effects, to the extent that this event looks to be unprecedented, the weather effects (OK, we mean rain) would presumably be even less predictable than usual. Hard to avoid a degree of optimism, though, since it will certainly mean some kind of change, and it can hardly get worse.
BTW, follow Daniel Swain @Weather_West for really good updates/links on the subject (hardly news to BP, I’m sure).
The other thing I remember from my reading on El Niño is that its effect on precipitation in northern California is not nearly as strong or as predictable as it is in So Cal.