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'Only travel if absolutely necessary' - warning issued due to high winds

PUBLISHED: 11:32 10 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:01 10 March 2019

Kezza Clarke snapped this picture of a fallen tree in Chitts Hill, Colchester Picture: KEZZA CLARKE

Kezza Clarke snapped this picture of a fallen tree in Chitts Hill, Colchester Picture: KEZZA CLARKE

KEZZA CLARKE

Road users are being warned to travel only when "absolutely necessary" due to high winds today.

The QE2 bridge at the Dartford Crossing is closed due to strong winds, Highways England have announced, and are monitoring the Orwell Bridge.

Earlier, Weatherquest said wind speeds of up to 60mph could be expected this afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said they were seeing a “really high call demand” due to the weather, relating mostly to fallen trees.

Kezza Clarke took this picture of a fallen tree in Chitts Hill, Colchester, past the railway on the way to West Bergholt.

The constabulary has advised on social media to only travel when really necessary and ensure 999 is used only for genuine emergencies. The 101 number is for non-emergencies.

Read more: A yellow weather warning for wind is in place for Wednesday

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said they were also receiving lots of calls reporting fallen trees, but they normally only deal with them if there is a risk to life, for example a tree over a road on a tight bend.

They directed people to report them here at Essex Highways.

In Basildon firefighters were called to help after strong winds caused severe damage to the roof and chimneys of three terraced properties.

Crews said up a safety cordon as objects from the roofs were falling onto a public footpath, and removed loose materials.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said so far they had not taken any weather-related calls for Suffolk and Suffolk police also said high winds had not been causing any issues.

Phil Garner, a forecaster with Weatherquest, said it would be a blustery afternoon, with a possibility of speeds of 60mph.

He said the rest of the day would see showers, which would clear to some degree overnight, with a mostly dry - but still windy - day tomorrow.

“Winds will pick up on Tuesday, but they won’t be as strong as we have had them. I think the gusts could reach 50mph,” he said.

He believed Wednesday will see wind speeds of 50/55mph, but it would ease in the afternoon.

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