SOUTH Essex is being hit by another winter storm with heavy rain and gusts of more than 50mph recorded in the region.

The Met Office has issued its first red warning of the winter with Wales and North West England on alert for high winds.

A yellow warning for rain and wind has been issued for the East of England as more than a centimetre has been predicted for Wednesday afternoon, and 51mph gusts have already been recorded in Southend.

Both c2c and Greater Anglia have Tweeted that they are planning on running a full service this afternoon and evening.

However, winds of 55mph in Dartford have forced the closure of the QEII bridge.

A forecast from Essex Weather on Wednesday morning said rain would turn heavy and persistent for a time during the afternoon with the risk of surface flooding.

A Tweet from Essex Weather at 2.30pm said: "Winds peaking around 5PM, then easing overnight. Next storm due Saturday."

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