The bleak forecast for the weekend follows an “extreme heat” warning issued by the Met Office – the first ever – which has been in place for the southwest, southern Wales and parts of the midlands since Monday afternoon.
The blistering temperatures of the last few days have led to roads melting in several areas of England, with the surface sticking to car tyres.
Road crews have sought to alleviate disruption by spreading grit and dust on the asphalt to create temporary solid surfaces until more extensive examinations and repairs can be undertaken.
In Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, the surface material on the A38 melted in the heat. Local councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: “I have instructed officers to work with our contractors to resolve the failed surfacing with a quality repair which will last.”
Road melting was also reported in Cornwall, Somerset, Worcestershire and Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire.
I know it’s hot elsewhere, but the roads are literally melting in Worcestershire. pic.twitter.com/lYJlb6FaEm
— Michael Foster (@MikeFoster1403) July 20, 2021
Travel Somerset, which provides traffic and roadworks updates for the local council, said the several melting roads around Somerset were due to “the dark asphalt road surface” which absorbs heat throughout the day. “A sunny day in the 20Cs can be enough to generate 50C on the ground,” a spokesperson said.
The extreme heat warning is set to expire across England and Wales on Thursday night, with temperatures letting up to the mid-20s.
Until then, temperatures can be expected to remain very warm and “uncomfortable” across much of the country, but a drop in temperature may arrive earlier in eastern Scotland and northeast England.
Heavy rain and thundery showers are expected over the weekend and some areas could see a month’s worth of rain over Saturday and Sunday, the Met Office said.
Meanwhile, emergency services have urged people to be aware of the dangers of going into open water following 12 confirmed water-related deaths in the last four days.
Public Health England has also extended its heat-health warning, which warns people to take measures to stay cool and look out for vulnerable people, until Friday.
Additional reporting by Press Association