Storm causes major traffic delays in east of England

QE2 Bridge at Dartford was closed
Image caption The QE2 Bridge at Dartford was closed due to the heavy winds

Heavy rain and strong winds have caused major rail delays and traffic disruption in the east of England.

Greater Anglia and Stansted Express services in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are running at reduced speeds.

A roof was blown off a block of flats in Purfleet, forcing four people to leave their homes, but there were no reports of injuries.

The QE2 Bridge on the M25 motorway, linking Essex to Kent, is shut because of the winds.

But the Dartford Tunnels remain open.

In Suffolk, the Orwell Bridge is expected to be closed to all traffic until Tuesday morning.

Train operator East Coast said services between London Kings Cross and Peterborough may be delayed by up to 30 minutes because of speed restrictions.

National Rail Inquiries said that the storm is expected to affect Greater Anglia and Stansted Express services throughout the night.

A spokesman said a broken down train near Diss had caused delays of up to 60 minutes between Ipswich and Norwich, earlier in the day.

Flights cancelled

Thameslink said a reduced service was in operation on the Bedford-to-Brighton route and trains between London St Pancras International and Bedford have been delayed by up to 30 minutes because of overhead wire problems near West Hampstead.

Power supply problems around the Watford area mean virtually no trains have been leaving Euston Station.

Rail services are expected to be disrupted again on Tuesday and customers are being advised to check websites for information.

Forecaster Weatherquest said stronger winds will hit the region between midnight and 02:00 GMT.

The Environment Agency said flood alerts have been issued in north Norfolk near Wells Next the Sea and parts of The Wash, as well as areas nears the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire.

At Norwich International Airport flights to Manchester have been cancelled and passengers will be taken there by coach.

Stansted Airport in Essex and Luton Airport in Bedfordshire have seen delays of up to an hour on some flights.

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