It’s true that we are not seeing the kind of rain expected for February and certainly not for an El Niño year. At the equator, sea surface temperature warming is still strong, but the atmospheric reach to our region in central/northern California appears fairly mild. Much of that is due to variability in atmospheric anomalies over the continental U.S., despite fairly persistent anomalies over the N. Pacific. [NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center] (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml#forecast) projects a transition out of El Niño and into a neutral pattern by spring. They also project very moderate levels of rain above the average, which does not bode well for getting us out of drought. As far as our coastal ocean is concerned, the good news is that El Niño has seemed to help stir things up in the water column and bring the domoic acid levels down dramatically in crabs, leading the state to open the recreational fishery. This decline in toxin levels in crabs has not been large enough to open the commercial Dungeness crab industry. The very conscientious crabbers have decided as a group to maintain the closure for fear of contaminated crabs still making it to market. I had the incredible opportunity to testify to a joint state senate committee at the [Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum] (http://fisheries.legislature.ca.gov/content/2016-43rd-annual-zeke-grader-fisheries-forum) earlier in February and report on the state of HABs and the DA event in California. It was a rare opportunity to hear a varied perspective from Cal Department of Fish and Wildlife scrambling to put out many ecosystem fires simultaneously to fishermen and women working hard to mitigate their own personal economic disasters resulting from this record closure.