Most of Minnesota is abnormally dry, with some areas officially reaching drought stage, and forecasters said conditions are unlikely to improve in the next few weeks.

About 72% of the state is drier than typical, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Twelve percent — including patches along the North Shore, a zone stretching from the northern Twin Cities to St. Cloud to Lake Mille Lacs, and three small areas on the state's western edge and southeast tip — are in moderate drought. During this stage of dryness, river and lake levels start to recede.

The overall dry conditions may be a surprise after the rain this past weekend when a few inches fell across the Twin Cities and one extremely wet storm cell dropped as much as 8 inches of rain in the southwest around Franklin, according to estimates from weather radar.

But the rain was too spotty to make a significant difference statewide, said Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Twin Cities office in Chanhassen. And at least through the first week of July, Minnesota has an elevated chance of high temperatures, and a lower chance of rain than normal, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a whole lot in the way of precipitation coming [for the Twin Cities region]," Dye said. "Our next chance will probably be Thursday night into Friday, but as far as amounts, I don't know that we're expecting too much."

The dry stretch along much of the North Shore is unlikely to do better, said Dean Melde, a Weather Service meteorologist in Duluth.

The next chance for rain there comes this weekend, but "right now, it doesn't look like a big system. Definitely not a drought buster," Melde said.

Carolyn Olson, a farmer in Lyon County, said the absence of moisture for a third consecutive summer has increasingly dire ramifications for her crops. Recently, a crew dug down through 13 feet of ground to repair the tiles in her fields and reported back the worrisome news.

"They said it was dry all the way down," she said.

For Olson, who daily monitors her rain gauge, drought maps can be occasionally misleading.

"I can't tell you how many times we've been in the field kicking up dust when our neighbors 3 miles away have gotten rained out."

But she said the dry conditions in southwestern Minnesota are nerve-racking for farmers, especially after the prolonged seasons of dryness. The soybeans she and her husband planted in mid-May have only seen a little more than 4 inches of rainfall — barely enough to start germination in some rows.

"When it's been so dry, you really feel it," Olson said.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop report noted Minnesota corn and soybeans are categorized, so far, at least 75% good to excellent.

The dryness has contributed to a high fire risk in a swath of the state from roughly St. Cloud to Duluth, and a very high fire risk in the Arrowhead. Under both conditions, fires "start easily and spread at a fast rate," according to the Department of Natural Resources.

For now, campfires are still allowed, said Allissa Reynolds, wildfire prevention supervisor for the DNR. But that may change if dry conditions persist. The drier the conditions, the more fuel on the forest floor that can be ignited, she said.

The springtime wildfire season — when shorter-lived blazes tend to sprint quickly across grasses and top-layer fuels — got off to a late start from lingering snow, Reynolds said. But once fires started igniting, they haven't stopped.

"What we're seeing now is just a continuation of a season that usually wraps up when green-up occurs," she said. Now, "that green grass is starting to turn brown."

People hauling boats, using heavy equipment, and those setting campfires should be extra careful this summer, Reynolds said. Make sure chains on trailers don't drag on the ground, which can create sparks, and camp fires should be extinguished so thoroughly that they're cool to the touch.

And lastly, one piece of advice that may prove hard to follow in a few weeks: "Fireworks are probably a bad idea this year."