THE QEII Bridge has reopened after it was forced to close as strong winds and heavy rain batter the region.

The bridge was closed for two hours but long delays are expected to remain for sometime as a 10 mile backlog of traffic is cleared.

A 30mph speed restriction had been enforced earlier in the afternoon, but crossing controllers have decided the winds are now too strong for the crossing to remain open.

The closure of the crossing caused chaos on the roads in Thurrock

Severe delays were reported on the A13 in both directions and traffic built up around Lakesides and on local roads in the west of the borough.

Traffic was diverted through one of the tunnel bores.

Ensignbus suspended its X80 service, which goes to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. That is not expected to resume for some time.

The Met Office has issued a wind warning for the South East.

Heavy rain and strongh winds are expected to hit Thurrock throughout the afternoon and into this evening.

Southend Standard: m25 traffic

Traffic approaching the QEII Bridge at 2.20pm