A heat wave that has caused road surfaces to melt over the past few days is expected to end with thunderstorms over large parts of England and Wales this weekend, forecasters have warned.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning over large parts of England and Wales for Saturday and Sunday, saying heavy rain and thunderstorms could cause floods and transport disruptions.
The gloomy forecast for the weekend follows a warning of “extreme heat” from the Met Office – the first ever – which has been in place in south-west, south 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 where the surface is sticking to car tires.
Road crews have tried to alleviate disturbances by scattering grain and dust on the asphalt to create temporary solid surfaces until more extensive investigations and repairs can be made.
In Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, the A38 surface material melted in the heat. Local Councilor Vernon Smith, Cabinet member for highways, said: “I have instructed officers to work with our contractors to address the failed surface with a quality repair that lasts.”
Road melting was also reported in Cornwall, Somerset, Worcestershire and Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire.
Travel Somerset, which provides updates of traffic and road work to the city council, said the various melting roads around Somerset were due to “the dark asphalt road surface”, which absorbs heat throughout the day. “A sunny day in the 20Cs could be enough to generate 50C on Earth,” a spokesman said.
The extreme heat warning expires over England and Wales on Thursday night with temperatures up to the mid-20s.
Until then, temperatures can be expected to remain very hot and “uncomfortable” over large parts of the country, but a drop in temperature may arrive earlier in eastern Scotland and north-east England.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected over the weekend, and some areas may see a month of rain during Saturday and Sunday, the Met Office said.
Meanwhile, rescue services have urged people to be aware of the dangers of going into open water after 12 confirmed water-related deaths in the last four days.
Public Health England has also extended its heat health warning, warning people to take measures to stay cool and keep an eye on vulnerable people until Friday.
Additional reporting from the Press Association