LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An early bird El Niño has officially formed.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday issued an El Niño advisory, announcing the arrival of the climatic condition and it could mean another year of heavy rain in Southern California.
"So historically, El Niño has brought more significant rainfall totals to Southern California. Not every El Nino has measured up to that," said Eric Boldt with the National Weather Service.
An El Niño is a natural, temporary and occasional warming of part of the Pacific that shifts weather patterns across the globe, often by moving the airborne paths for storms.
It formed a month or two earlier than most El Niños do, which "gives it room to grow," and there's a 56% chance it will be considered strong and a 25% chance it reaches supersized levels, said climate scientist Michelle L'Heureux, head of NOAA's El Niño/La Niña forecast office.
As it does, it can contribute to intense rain and flooding.
San Bernardino County Public Works is already preparing and has added one important plan to the list.
"We are putting together a blizzard plan," said Director Brendon Biggs. "We hadn't had a blizzard for 50 years so there's a lot of lessons learned. We are purchasing different types of equipment. We have the blizzard plan so now we know when to start requesting outside assistance."
Briggs said one of the lessons learned from this past winter was the lack of contractors with the right equipment to tackle all the snow.
"We've actually made some purchases that we can give to them so we can use them in the future," he said.
While officials are heeding the predictions for next fall and winter, residents should also do their part to prepare for El Niño.
"If I've got issues at my property like a leaky roof or I know the drainage is not good, maybe now is the time to get that project going and take care of those issues before we get into next winter."
El Niño hits hardest in December through February, shifting the winter storm track farther south to the equator. The entire southern third to half of the United States, including California, is likely to be wetter in El Niño. For years, California was looking for El Niño rain relief from a decades long megadrought, but this winter's seemingly endless atmospheric rivers made it no longer needed, officials said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.