HELENA, Mont. (AP) — May is finishing with a flurry of rain that is giving drought watchers hope as the summer season looms.

A dry start to the year turned less grim with rainfall in much of the state. But experts say it is still too early to tell the effects on the summer fire season, agriculture and recreation.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation drought map before much of the recent rain showed dry conditions lingering across southern Montana.

The agency says that recent rain — and the potential for more — could improve the situation.

The DNRC says that Montana is so far faring much better than some other parts of the West that are bordering on extreme drought conditions.