Near-80mph gusts sweep across UK as windy weekend forecast
Gusts approaching 80mph have hit England and Wales with weather warnings for further strong winds set to come into force for the weekend.
A yellow warning for wind has been issued by the Met Office for most of the UK on Friday and Saturday, meaning delays are likely to road, rail, air and ferry travel.
Tall vehicles travelling on exposed roads and bridges should also expect to be delayed by the weather, according to forecasters.
Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said: "Through Friday and Saturday there are going to be some more strong winds and heavy rain."
The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Crossing, a major commuter route across the River Thames, was closed for around three hours on Thursday morning due to unsafe wind speeds, Highways England said.
Essex Police warned motorists to expect long delays on roads in the area.
A 76mph gust was measured on Thursday morning in Capel Curig, north Wales, as well as a 67mph gust in Aberdaron on the country's west coast.
In the south east of England, 54mph winds were measured in Langdon Bay in Kent and gusts of 52mph in Thorney Island, West Sussex.
The strongest wind measured by the Met Office overnight was 79mph on the Isle of Wight.
Winds are expected to ease off later on Thursday ahead of the blustery weekend.
Mr Wilson said on Thursday: "There is going to be a wet and windy feel this morning but through the rest of the day winds will ease a little bit.
"There will be a mixture of sunshine and showers, with the showers mainly in the west."
The yellow weather warning runs from 12pm on Friday to 6pm on Saturday.