MOTORISTS are being warned to expect gale force winds tonight and tomorrow but should not call 999 other than with a genuine emergency.

Forecasts suggest winds of up to 60mph will hit parts of Essex from 11pm tonight through to 10am tomorrow.

Essex Police has also warned of potential fallen trees and damage to buildings and power lines.

Chief Superintendent Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, said: "Fortunately the worst weather is likely to be later into the evening and night after the rush hour.

"But we would advise people not to travel unless absolutely necessary until the winds have lessened and to take appropriate steps to secure their homes and property against the weather.

"There is a potential for trees and power lines to come down as a result of the wind and for flying debris to be a danger at the peak of the storm.

"If possible, people should stay inside until it has passed.

"If someone is in a situation where life is threatened or there is a genuine emergency then people should call 999 but to allow police to deal with the most vital calls we would ask members of the public to call 101 in less extreme circumstances."

He also urged road problems to be reported to Essex County Council on 0845 603 7631.

Fallen trees should be reported on 0845 606 7624.

Ch Supt Roe also urged drivers to take care using roads affected by flooding or blocked by debris.