Britain’s roads melt as record breaking temperatures see surfaces hit 50C
Britain’s roads have begun to melt as temperatures continue to soar on a recording breaking July day as mercury exceeds 38C (100.4F).
Terrifying pictures have shown tarmac buckling in the East Midlands as Britain swelters in the summer heatwave. Dave Rigby, chief technical officer at the Road Surface Treatments Association, said the temperatures on road surfaces can reach up to 50C (122F). Mr Rigby stated in the extreme heat, the road surface can melt “like chocolate” and is expecting gritters to be deployed to combat the weather. He said: “During very hot weather roads could reach 50°C at the surface and at these temperatures can start to soften.
“Dark asphalt on the road surfaces absorbs a lot of heat and is like chocolate, it melts when it is hot and goes brittle when it cools down.
“I would not be surprised to see gritters out over the next couple of days, they are used to spread dust and sand which absorbs the soft bitumen stabilising the road surface and making it less sticky.”
Travel chaos has descended up and down the country, as temperatures break the all-time July record.
The July record has tumbled four times in one day – with a high of 38.1C set in Cambridge this afternoon.
Commuters travelling during the evening rush-hour will face long delays as trains come to a standstill.
The scorching temperatures has caused damage to overhead electric wires between London St Pancras and Luton, blocking all lines.
East Midlands Trains and Thameslink services are affected and passengers have been urged “do not travel”.
Overhead electric wires between London Euston and Watford Junction have also been damaged by the heat, disrupting Virgin Trains services.
A spokeswoman for the operator said: “Due to extensive disruption on the network today, any Virgin Trains customers who would prefer to postpone their travel can use their tickets on Virgin Trains services tomorrow.”
Network Rail announced that speed restrictions would be in place in the south east until 8pm amid fears that tracks could buckle in the heat if trains travel too fast.
Speed limits on most commuter lines will be cut from 60mph to 30mph.
Nick King, network services director at Network Rail, said: “We have a number of heat-related incidents across the rail network this evening that are causing disruption to services.
“We are sorry that some passengers are experiencing uncomfortable conditions and inconvenience.
“Our teams are working flat out to fix the issues as quickly as possible and get people on the move.
“We’re asking anyone travelling this evening to check with their train operators or visit the National Rail Enquiries website to see how their journey is affected.”
The 38.1C recorded in Cambridge is just 0.5C away from breaking the record for the hottest ever day in the UK.
The all-time UK record of 38.5C (101.3F) recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.