Essex is braced for strong winds which could reach up to 50mph this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind which covers must of the UK and Essex.

Several festivals and events have been cancelled as forecasters warned of strong wind and heavy rain up and down the country.

Motorists and commuters have also been told to avoid travelling if possible.

The Met Office said westerly regions will be hit first as it issued a yellow wind warning beginning on Friday afternoon, covering West Wales, Devon and Cornwall, and stretching to parts of the Channel coast.

A second warning will then come into force on Saturday covering the whole of Wales and southern and central England as far north as Blackpool, Huddersfield and Grimsby.

Neil Armstrong, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "This low-pressure system will bring challenging conditions, including unseasonably strong winds and heavy rain, from the west during Friday and Saturday.

"Summer storms - compared with those in autumn and winter - always have the potential to create additional impacts because more people are likely to be outdoors, especially by the coast.


"Additionally with trees in full leaf they are more vulnerable to being brought down by strong winds."

Two music festivals were cancelled over the weather and other events, including the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, were also scaled back.

Houghton, a Norfolk dance music festival, was cancelled just hours before it was due to start, its "devastated" organisers announced on Facebook.

The decision was taken after Boardmasters, in Newquay, was called off on Wednesday.

The weather warnings will be cut back on Sunday to cover only northern England, where thunderstorms are likely, and none are currently in place for Monday.

The Met Office had previously described the conditions as "more like autumn than August" and forecast winds of up to 60mph in some places.

'Check road conditions before you travel'

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, urged drivers to check conditions before they travel and "consider if their journey is necessary".

"In high winds, there's a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we'd advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road if possible," he said.

Warning about large waves

The RNLI has also warned people visiting the coast to beware of large waves and storms.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Respect the Water campaign manager, added: “If you’re heading to the coast, beware of large waves and stay away from the edge – even from shore, large breaking waves can sweep you off your feet and drag you out to sea. Check your surroundings – storms can change the landscape of some beaches, changing or damaging access points.

“If you find yourself in difficulty in the water, remember to relax and float on your back – this will give you a chance to regain control of your breathing.

"If you see someone else in danger, never enter the water yourself as you could end up in trouble too. Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. If there is something buoyant nearby, throw that to the person to keep them afloat until professional help arrives.”