93F! Roads melt ... and it may be hottest since ’76 today
ROADS melted and railways buckled as Britain sweltered in the heatwave yesterday – with forecasters warning it will be hotter in some areas today.
Temperatures could hit 93F (34C) in London, making it the hottest June day since 1976 and hotter than parts of the Sahara.
The weather has claimed at least two lives. On Monday 16-year- old Paul Lawson drowned in a reservoir in Rochdale and the body of an elderly woman was pulled from the sea at East Wittering, West Sussex.
The five-day heatwave is expected to end in the Midlands and the North, with thunderstorms, torrential rain and even hail. Some places could see up to 1.6in of rainfall in one hour, with the risk of localised flooding. But the South will continue to swelter, with warnings of further disruption to transport – although temperatures are not expected to approach the June record of 96.1F (35.6C) in Southampton in 1976.
However, it is forecast to be the fifth consecutive day that temperatures have remained above 86F (30C), which has not happened in June since 1995.
Yesterday as the heat peaked at 88.3F (31.3C) in Wisley, Surrey, tracks were reported to have buckled in Streatham, South London, and in Bristol.
Network Rail said several speed restrictions were in place because of the hot weather.
As road surfaces began to melt, gritting lorries were deployed in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and police warned drivers to take care. At Newton, Cambridgeshire, service station worker Agnes Owen said the melted tarmac ‘sounded like cars were driving through water’.
She added: ‘The tyres were literally ripping the tarmac off the road. It’s quite dangerous.’
Gatwick Airport tweeted it was spraying its runway with water to keep it cool. A pavement melted in Castlefield, Manchester, where a passer-by wrote ‘hot’ in the surface. Air pollution levels are also expected to rise today but cooler, fresher conditions are expected tomorrow, with night-time temperatures also expected to dip.
Police said the high temperatures have led to a surge of 999 calls linked to alcohol consumption and anti-social behaviour.
West Midlands Police said they took more emergency calls on both Saturday and Sunday than on New Year’s Eve.
Chief Inspector Gareth Mason said: ‘More people tend to spend time outside, resulting in more anti- social behaviour reports. Alcohol intakes increase and tempers can fray more easily.’
Police and coastguards have renewed warnings about the dangers of ‘tombstoning’ – leaping from height into the water – after teenagers were photographed jumping off cliffs and bridges. And motorists have been advised to apply sunscreen while driving as most car windows offer no protection against ultra violet light.
Public Health England warned that death rates typically rise when temperatures exceed 77F (25C), with the vulnerable and the elderly most at risk.
Diabetes UK warned diabetics that high temperatures could affect their condition, and allergy charities warned sufferers with breathing difficulties such as asthma to take care.
Unions have urged employers to allow staff to relax dress codes, while parents have criticised schools after children were sent home for not wearing blazers despite the heat.
Molten highway: The B1093 in Cambridgeshire yesterday