England recorded its hottest day ever with the temperature rising over 40 degrees Celsius in parts of the country on Tuesday, July 19. The unusual spike in the mercury led to instances of road melting at various locations. According to a report in Mirror, a road in Stockport, Greater Manchester turned into a sticky goo as the heat liquefied the asphalt. Onlookers who witnessed this rare sight said that it sounded as if the cars were passing through a puddle just after rain. “It was that soft your feet got stuck in it if you walked across. The tarmac was all stuck in the treads of my tyres,” a local resident said.
Greater Manchester hit a record 34.2 degrees Celsius on July 19 beating the previous record of 33.9 C in July 2019. However, the temperature on road surfaces went up to 50C making them soft. This is because the road surface tends to absorb heat over the day.
When the temperature reaches unusual levels, authorities have to grit the road to prevent them from melting.
Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association, said that while the site of gritters out in the summer may be unusual as spreading grit and salt in done during the winters, it is an effective practice for keeping a road surface safe during extreme prolonged hot temperatures.
The highest temperature was recorded at Heathrow Airport in West London where the mercury touched 40.2C. Britain’s previous all-time temperature record of 38.7C was set in Cambridge in eastern England in 2019.
The temperature spike has triggered an unprecedented red alert for extreme heat in parts of England with rail lines being closed as a precaution and schools being shut in some areas. Various departments continue to be on alert about the possibility of wildfire caused by the soaring temperature. The latest heatwave which also spread to other parts of Europe has contributed to several deadly wildfires in France, Greece, Portugal and Spain
Blaming the latest heatwave on climate change, experts noted that frequent extreme weather will only worsen in years to come.