The extended outlook is never black or white but some nebulous shade of gray.

We're coming out of the most intense El Niño on record, similar to 1998. My confidence level is low to moderate, but I'd wager a stale bagel that 2016 will trend warmer than average, overall. Spring should arrive earlier, with ice coming off area lakes sooner than average. With less snow on the ground, the risk of extensive spring river flooding has lessened, but I'm betting on more hail and severe thunderstorms than in previous springs.

The risk of drought is small, but models suggest a pivot to La Niña, which could spark drier conditions by late summer and fall. Then again, it never works out exactly how you think it will.

Rain showers arrive today, with 40s into Saturday before cooling off a little. The last weekend of February may bring 50 degrees; a mild, Pacific-flavored westerly flow spilling into early March.

What did Yogi Berra say? "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." Yep.