Furnace Thursday warnings: Commuters told ‘stay at home’ as train lines to melt in 39C


COMMUTERS have been warned to stay at home tomorrow as Brits are “likely” to face all-time record 39C temperatures.

The extremely hot temperatures, which might “feel like” 44C in places according to some forecast models, will affect train services.

When in direct sunshine, the metal rails can get as hot as 50 degrees, Southeastern rail said.

Railway lines can buckle in hot temperatures as they expand and start to curve.

Network Rail has imposed speed restrictions to “reduce the chance of rails buckling in the heat”.

Southeastern said it would be running a “significantly reduced service” on Thursday.

But with sweltering heat and slower speeds, travel chaos is expected as Brits who do need to travel, bustle to get on to services.

Southeastern said: “We strongly advise you to avoid travelling, if you can. “

The Met Office has warned Brits are “likely to face all-time record 39C temperatures tomorrow as the country braces for what could be its hottest day ever.

Temperatures across England exceeded 30C on Tuesday, with forecasters predicting even hotter temperatures today.

“It will get to 35C on Wednesday, with a small chance it will get to 36C,” Met Office meteorologist Emma Smith said.

Temperatures in London are expected to reach 39C on Thursday, which would pass the current record for a day in July – 36.7C – recorded at Heathrow Airport in 2015.

The Met Office said there is a 60% chance the UK temperature record of 39C, which was recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003, will be smashed.

The highest overnight average temperature ever seen in the UK was 23.3C in July 1948.

Ms Smith said there is a possibility this will be beaten on Thursday night into Friday.

The rail warnings come as its revealed gritters could be brought out during the heatwave as blowtorch temperatures cause roads to “melt like chocolate”.

The vehicles, a more common sight in winter, will be called on to keep traffic moving, motoring experts say.

Drivers are warned to take extra care on the roads with surfaces likely to soften and bubble during extreme heat.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The sweltering heat is going to inevitably lead to some softer road surfaces over the next few days.

“If you see some blacker patches of road or pavement, that’s how you can tell it’s starting to melt.

“It also means that drivers might start to see something that they’d normally only associate with the depths of winter – gritting trucks.

“Salt can help improve the grip on roads that are starting melt.”

Large swathes of Britain have experienced storms and lightning strikes as the country braces for what could be its hottest day ever later this week.

Thunderstorms moved into southern and western areas late on Tuesday evening, with the Met Office issuing a yellow severe weather warning for most of England, Wales and Scotland until 9am on Wednesday.

Surrey Police posted a video of what it called “a great lightning show” and some Twitter users posted to say they had been woken up by the thunderstorms.

North Wales was the wettest area overnight, getting 15mm of rain in one hour.

But by Wednesday morning, much of the country was already experiencing temperatures far above normal for this time of year.

“Quite a lot of places are back up to 23 or 24 degrees already (at 5am),” Met Office meteorologist Emma Smith said.

“It’s normally 13 or 14 degrees at this time of year, so that’s 10 degrees above average.”

Northern Ireland and western Scotland will be the coolest areas on Thursday, with temperatures in the low 20s.


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