Could be there’s a change in the weather brewing. The owners of the Weather Channel have hired a pair of banks to sniff out interest in a sale. Citing sources close to the matter, Bloomberg reports that NBCUniversal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital — which bought the company for a sizzling $3.5B in 2008 — have pacted with Morgan Stanley and PJT Partners to test the waters for a possible offloading. The news outlet said there have been early talks with tech and media firms about the Weather Channel, which began mulling a sale last year.

Hurricane Sandy Hits New EnglandIt could be that the owners only want to sell the digital ops, which it valued much higher that the cable network. One of Bloomberg’s sources said the owners value the Weather Channel at more than $3B, with the majority tied to the d-business that includes Weather.com, Weather Underground and Weather Services International.

The timing of news about a potential sale is interesting in that scientists are expecting the biggest El Nino event in a generation — one JPL guy calls it the “Godzilla El Nino” — to affect weather patterns in the U.S. and around the world this winter. We’re talking the possibility of near-biblical rain, mudslides, flooding, hurricanes. Of course, that likely would send untold numbers of viewers and clickers to Weather Channel properties, something of which its owners must be fully aware.

The Weather Channel made national headlines last year over its nasty carriage dispute with DirecTV, which led to a blackout of the channel that lasted three months.