Summer fun: Sunbathers on Queenstown beach last week

Queenstown sweltered under its hottest day in recorded history on Monday – but there could be snow on the mountains by Tuesday.

The mercury reached a sizzling 35.2C at the Park Street weather station.

That’s the hottest since records began in 1878. The previous record day was way back in 1948, with a temperature of 34.1C.

There have been 17 days over 30C this summer, including the eight leading up to yesterday.

“That’s a heatwave and a half”, octogenarian local weatherman David Crow, who’s been recording stats for almost 60 years, says.

He says the hottest point of the day is generally about 4.30pm.

Yesterday, 18 fire crews and 15 helicopters were on stand-by across Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago, as high temperatures, rising wind and low humidity push the fire risk into the ‘extreme’ category.

Queenstown’s council discouraged walkers, runners and bikers from using trails in the red zone due to extreme fire risk, including Ben Lomond, One Mile/Fernhill and Queenstown Hill, and Skyline’s MTB trails closed for the afternoon.

However, there’s every chance you’re reading this with the rain pouring down outside.

As MetService was predicting heavy rain Thursday due to a cold front moving in.

And our office weatherman Chris Stephenson (who worked for the MetService for 22 years) says Queenstowners can expect more cold, showery weather from Monday, potentially bringing snow to the mountains on Tuesday. That’s due to another cold front from the south-west.