Is this storm El Niño?
Yes and No! Every storm from now through winter and into spring is to some degree being influenced by El Niño. The conditions that define this strong El Niño are already in place across the eastern tropical Pacific. There are some winter weather patterns that are influenced more by this and thought of as more "typical" of El Niño, but even a cold front from the Gulf of Alaska is to some extent being impacted. The same can be said for every storm being influenced by the fact it is winter, with the tilt of the earth and its position relative to the sun being different than in summer!
Consequently, there is no way to look at one storm (or any other weather event) and say it is or is not because of El Niño. We get storms every winter anyway and there is no DNA test to say that it is only happening because of El Niño.
Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services