A city blanketed in choking bushfire smoke for days on end. Scorching hot temperatures. The terrible dry.
In an area parched by drought and menaced by bushfire threat, the forecasts for rain on Monday may have lifted hopes in Canberra.
What came was a storm with a ferocity all the more exasperating after the summer's extreme dryness and heat.
Less than a month ago, a slow-moving high pressure system brought a low-intensity heat wave.
How did Canberra's summer follow this wild path?
It seems baffling to have severe storms like Monday's follow the heat and dry so quickly, but the two should be treated individually, according to Weatherzone meteorologist Graeme Brittain.
The storm was not unusual for this time of summer in south-east Australia, Mr Brittain said.
Water vapour has moved to eastern Australia as weather activity has increased in the tropics in recent weeks, he said.
The dry weather and heat waves earlier in the summer were linked instead to temperature differences across the tropical Indian Ocean.
Canberra's drought has almost reached the worst-case scenario planned for by Icon Water, and at this point the city would need about 100 millimetres of rain to impact dam levels.
For all the intensity of the storm, the Bureau of Meteorology recorded only 2.6mm of rain at Canberra Airport by 7pm on Monday.