ACT News

Wettest January for Canberra in 16 years, but forecast looks sunny

Umbrellas and raincoats were a surprisingly regular accessory last month as Canberra sheltered from the wettest January in 16 years, with almost 100 millimetres dousing the capital. 

Although residents shivered through a historically cool run of weather last week, with temperatures plunging as low as 8 degrees, January temperatureson the whole were surprisingly average.

Canberrans experienced the wettest January in more than decade.
Canberrans experienced the wettest January in more than decade. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Weatherzone meteorologist Ben McBurney said above-average humidity led to a wet month, with 97 millimetres of rain recorded in January 2015 compared to 58 millimetres the previous January.

"It was the wettest January since 1999," he said. "The whole season has been more humid. It's been pretty stormy in Canberra so far, with more showers."

Rain did not dampen the spirit of an enthusiastic crowd during last month's Asian Cup.

Canberra Times photo by Matt Bedford
Rain did not dampen the spirit of an enthusiastic crowd during last month's Asian Cup. Canberra Times photo by Matt Bedford Photo: Matt Bedford

The average minimum temperature in January was 14 degrees, just half a degree above average. The average maximum temperature for the month was 27.5 degrees, almost a degree below average. 

Mr McBurney said the month had been significantly cooler than the two previous Januarys, which were 3.5 and 4 degrees above average. 

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Consequently, the fire danger had been substantially lower. 

"The hottest it's been all summer is 35 degrees. Even last January we had three days above 40 degrees," he said. "Obviously, this is going to create  different fire conditions - the humidity last summer was lower than average.

Mr McBurney said Canberrans can expect a warmer February.

"There's a warmer spell of weather coming up in the next week or two. I think the February trend will be on the warmer side, a degree or two above average," he said.

"With rainfall, we'll find a more neutral pattern as we're not heading towards la nina or el nino - there's no strong indication of particularly wet or dry conditions. I think rainfall will be fairly close to average."

Mr McBurney expected Tuesday and Wednesday to offer the best weather this week. A sunny Tuesday is forecast to reach 27 degrees, followed by a top of 25 degrees on Wednesday with a possible late shower. 

Conditions are expected to cool to 22 degrees on Thursday and 24 degrees on Friday before a hot weekend. Saturday is tipped to climb to 29 degrees, followed by 30 degrees on Sunday.