The basic jest is that sea temperatures rise and begin to flow eastward in the Pacific. The rainfall follows the warm water and therefore causes more rain to occur in the western United States. The more detailed version is below. Hope this helps.
An El Nino year is characterized by higher than normal ocean temperatures in the Pacific region. This temperature difference is caused by a relaxation in the trade winds that normally blow east to west, causing colder temperatures in the eastern pacific and a warmer temperatures near the western coasts. This much warmer water lends increased energy to storm systems that normally develop, causing more frequent and intense storms (in the same way that warmer water in the Gulf/Caribbean leads to stronger and more frequent hurricanes on the East Coast).
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