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Summer a long time coming

Canberra residents wanting a real dose of summer should probably start looking towards 2013.

The past two days have been a taste of things to come, with forecasts showing a 75 per cent chance of rainfall in the ACT almost every day in February and the first week in March.

Weatherzone's rainfall forecast for Canberra says there is a high probability it will rain on 24 of the next 28 days, tipping the likelihood of showers on those 24 days at greater than 75 per cent.

The remaining four days have a medium, or 50 to 75 per cent, chance of rainfall, meaning Canberrans might have to kiss goodbye any hope for typically hot, dry days this summer.

The forecast follows a cooler-than-average January, when there was not a single day that recorded a temperature of 35 degrees or more, and a December when the average temperature was 2.5 degrees below the historical average.

But it doesn't necessarily mean a deluge is to come, according to Weatherzone meteorologist Alex Zadnik, who says the rainfall in February could be as little as 5mm or less on some days.


''The overall picture for the next two weeks is for more frequent showers and cold days than you associate with summer,'' Mr Zadnik said.

''But this weekend looks reasonable, in fact it's going to be quite warm and nice.''

Today's forecast, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, is for a top of 26 degrees, while tomorrow is expected to reach 29.

Temperatures are predicted to drop to the low 20s later next week.

''Around next Thursday and Friday there's some indication we may see a more significant low-pressure system redevelop around NSW, which will, in turn, bring more rain to the ACT,'' Mr Zadnik said.

''We are seeing a higher percentage of cooler and rainy days, but there is the odd sunny day in the mix.''

Mr Zadnik said it was still possible the outlook for the second half of the month could improve as more detailed forecasts became available.

''The reliability of forecasts beyond 10 to 14 days decreases,'' he said.

''I'd be wary of writing off the second half of February because there is definitely potential for the current weather pattern to break down.

''I think mid-month prospects of warmer weather are better.''

The rain forced the cancellation of yesterday's one-day cricket match between the Prime Minister's XI and Sri Lanka.

Tourism and recreation operators who rely on dry weather are struggling in the ''average'' conditions and are not expecting a reprieve.

Dickson Aquatic Centre owner Shay Kennedy said, ''Last year was the worst year in the 16 years we've been here and this year is even worse. We've still got people doing laps - the water is lovely and warm - but we're missing out on the families.

''But there's not much we can do about it and it's better than northern NSW where they're copping the floods.''

Bureau of Meteorology figures show January's average maximum temperature was 27.5 degrees, only half a degree below the historical average.

What was missing was some extreme heat, with Canberra failing to record a single January day over 35 degrees, compared the average of six days above 35 the previous three years.

There were 10 days in January that reached a maximum of 30 degrees or more.

December was cooler, with an average maximum of 23.6 degrees, 2.5 degrees below the historical average.

Canberra's hottest December day was 28.8 degrees on Christmas Day, while the hottest summer day so far was 34.7 degrees on January 3.

The first three days of February failed to top 20 degrees.