The Climate Prediction Center's latest prediction for whether this year will be an El Niño one is out and it's likely than ever that it will be, with an 80% by this fall. But there's surprisingly good news: it may also be a weaker event than previously thought, especially compared to the similar conditions in 1997.
I'm actually glad that we wont' be getting storms as severe as '97 (although this is disappointing if this means there's a reduced chance of rain at all).
From this report on that winter:
During the month of February 1998, California was struck by a series of storms due in part to the affects of El Nino. The current estimates indicate over $550 million in damages for the state, with that total expected to climb. The state also reported 17 storm-related deaths for the winter, and 35 counties were declared federal disaster areas.