HAMPSHIRE baked in a scorching spring heatwave at the weekend – and even a Southampton bridge began to melt.
The road surface was badly damaged at Cobden Bridge, near Bitterne Park, as the sizzling sunshine caused the bitumen to go soft.
Tyre tracks could be seen on the carriageway and some of the surface of the road had come off completely, showering the pavement with chippings.
Meanwhile, as temperatures soared to 27C (80F) in Hampshire:
Supermarkets found it hard to cope with demand – and barbecues, sausages and garden goods flew off the shelves;
Ice cream retailers reported one of their busiest days so far this year – with Carlo’s ice cream parlour in East Wellow saying they had served around 2,000 customers;
The ambulance service reported an “exceptionally busy weekend” with more than 1,100 callouts;
Hard-working Solent coastguards dealt with 29 incidents;
The sun in Hampshire outshone many foreign holiday destinations – including Egypt, which got up to 24C (75F), and Israel, which saw a high of 25C (77F).
At Cobden Bridge, road temperatures were believed to have reached between 60C (140F) and 70C (158F), as heat became trapped in the dark surface.
Southampton City Council said engineers had already been contacted to examine the road, which was last resurfaced in 2009 as part of works on
Cobden Avenue that cost £600,000.
Transport boss Councillor Asa Thorpe said: “Basically when roads get hot they do have a tendency to melt in these extreme temperatures.
“When members of the public alert us to this sort of thing, officers go down and have a look at the situation and make sure things are safe.
“We’re asking the public not to unduly panic because as soon as we think there is a risk to life or property we will be doing something about it.”
Sun worshippers flocked to beaches and parks across Hampshire to catch the best of the rays, with nearby resort Bournemouth reporting four times the usual amount of visitors.
Tony Donnarumma, owner of Carlo’s Ices and Tea Rooms in East Wellow, said he had been busy making ice cream since 5am to keep up with the huge demand.
He added: “The queues from lunchtime have been right out the door.
“We’ve had five girls serving all day and they haven’t stopped.”
Asda in Totton also said they had been very busy, with hot weather goods being snapped up by customers.
Forecasters said the warm weather was set to continue into the early part of this week, with temperatures dipping slightly to around 22C (71F).
The ambulance service reported they had had a higher than normal number of callouts, as mishaps happened in the sun.
But a spokesperson said they were not aware of any specific weather-related issues and Southampton General Hospital also said it had a
normal weekend in its A&E department.
As news broke of a teenager drowning in the River Thames in Oxfordshire, South Central Ambulance chiefs issued a warning about swimming in dangerous waters.
A spokesperson said: “It may be very appealing to jump into water to cool off on a hot summer’s day but people need to be aware of how dangerous it really is.
“Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and rivers in particular can have treacherous undercurrents.”
Long-range weather forecasts predict that the upcoming Jubilee bank holiday weekend will not be as hot, with cloud and the chance of some light showers in Hampshire.