A strong El Niño event has been taking place this year. People in Arizona generally welcome the wetter winters brought by El Niño, but in other parts of the world, El Niño can mean droughts, floods, crop failures, and looming food shortages.
Typically, during El Niño winters, a more powerful jet stream will develop north of the equator and steer storms into California and other parts of the Southwestern United States. This year, the Pacific Jet Stream was pushed north of its typical El Niño configuration. In the United States, impacts of El Niño have been felt this winter in the Pacific Northwest; Seattle is having one of its wettest winters on record and ski conditions in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia have been the best in years.