We're starting to wonder about El Niño's commitment to this relationship.

He's here, but then he's gone. After a strong start in early January, rainfall has been below average this winter, and there were big hopes that Sunday's storm would deliver.

It didn't. It gave us less than a half-inch of rain downtown, according to the National Weather Service.

And then it was gone. Sunny, warm days are expected this week.

“Early indications suggest that dry weather will dominate Southern California right into the second week of February before the chance of any rain returns to cities such as Los Angeles,” private forecaster AccuWeather says.

El Niño is the phenomenon by which warm waters along the equatorial Pacific create ideal conditions for a wet winter in Southern California, opening the door to a subtropical jet stream that tends to wallop us with storms.

The water has been so warm in the Pacific that some forecasters have predicted record wet. But so far El Niño has been a disappointment in Southern California. 

High temperatures in the 70s later this week won't help its case.

Cold nights will give way to offshore conditions. The NWS calls for “benign weather,” clear skies and “a warming trend” that will send temps “several degrees above seasonal normals.”

Don't lose hope for El Niño, however.

Experts note that in past strong El Niño years, much of the heavy weather happened later in the season — in February, March and even in spring. There's still time.

“People looking for a heavy, soaking rain to aid the drought may have to wait until the second half of February before another big rainstorm soaks Southern California,” says AccuWeather.

Keep your umbrellas handy.

LA Weekly