It is widely recognized that rainfall over the Yangtze River valley (YRV) strengthens considerably during the decaying summer of El Niño, as demonstrated by the catastrophic flooding suffered in the summer of 1998. Nevertheless, the rainfall over the YRV in the summer of 2016 was much weaker than that in 1998, despite the intensity of the 2016 El Niño having been as strong as that in 1998. A thorough comparison of the YRV summer rainfall anomaly between 2016 and 1998 suggests that the difference was caused by the sub-seasonal variation in the YRV rainfall anomaly between these two years, principally in August. The precipitation anomaly was negative in August 2016——different to the positive anomaly of 1998. Further analysis suggests that the weaker YRV rainfall in August 2016 could be attributable to the distinct circulation anomalies over the midlatitudes. The intensified "Silk Road Pattern" and upper-tropospheric geopotential height over the Urals region, both at their strongest since 1980, resulted in an anticyclonic circulation anomaly over midlatitude East Asia with anomalous easterly flow over the middle-to-lower reaches of the YRV in the lower troposphere. This easterly flow reduced the climatological wind, weakened the water vapor transport, and induced the weaker YRV rainfall in August 2016, as compared to that in 1998. Given the unique sub-seasonal variation of the YRV rainfall in summer 2016, more attention should be paid to midlatitude circulation——besides the signal in the tropics——to further our understanding of the predictability and variation of YRV summer rainfall.