The Flathead Beacon (which is thankfully back on line) reports that May is finishing with a flurry of rain — and even snow in places — 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 said 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 in southern Montana. Parts of southwestern Montana are hardest hit. Most southwestern Montana counties were ranked in a drought alert status, while most other counties across the lower half of the state were ranked at least slightly dry by the middle of May. Read the full article here.