GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS/AP) — As drought-weary Californians live with water shortages, conservation rules, and fines, experts say Colorado has beaten the devastating dry spell has plagued that state for several years.

Rains since last fall have brought Colorado out of a drought and returned the state to a condition that the National Weather Service says it hasn’t seen since August 2009.

Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken says even though the wet weather probably won’t stick around, it’s worth celebrating. He said El Nino could be a factor in helping end drought conditions.

Data from the weather service’s Climate Protection Center has parts of Utah joining Colorado in leaving the drought behind, with rain this fall expected to improve conditions in Arizona and areas of Nevada and California.

So far, El Nino has only brought sporadic rain to California.

Predictions for a strong El Nino later this year are nearly 100% certain, bringing with it an above-normal hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific, according to the International Research Institute For Climate and Society.

El Nino occurs when the equatorial waters of the Pacific ocean heat up. The warmer temperatures have persisted through July and scientists at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center expect these conditions to last until Spring 2016.

Climatologists caution that even a strong El Nino won’t end California’s drought. It will certainly help, though.

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