PICTURED: Colossal MEGA STORM set to savage UK with 70mph and torrential rain this weekend

A POWERFUL hurricane is forecast to slam into the UK by the weekend – bringing heavy downpours and blistering winds of 70mph.

Storm Ophelia was upgraded to a category 1 hurricane last night as it churns across the Atlantic Ocean towards the UK.

The 10th hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season is expected to slam into the UK at around 9pm Sunday night, according to the National Hurricane Centre.

Ophelia is currently moving north eastwards around 760 miles southwest of the Portuguese Azores with winds of up to 75mph, the NHC said.

Ophelia will lose hurricane strength over the weekend but it is still expected to pack a punch when it makes landfall in the UK on Monday.

The Met Office is said be “very concerned” about the possibility of strong gales and torrential rain causing disruption up and down the country.

Scotland and southern Ireland are expected to bear the brunt of the hurricane with strong winds whipping in from the south.

Alex Burkhill, forecaster for the Met Office, said: “Ophelia became a hurricane overnight and the forecast track takes it eastwards towards Iberia for the weekend.

“After that, indications are that by that point it will then have weakened and be no longer a hurricane or tropical storm, it will be extratropical.

“But then it will continue its way towards the British Isles, probably reaching us very early next week.”

The arrival of the hurricane will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987.

The savage storm battered the UK with hurricane-force winds between October 15-16, killing 22 people across Britain, France and the Channel Islands.

The unsettled weather is expected to last until Tuesday, with a separate band of low pressure threatening showers from the west.

Meanwhile the south east of England is set to enjoy a heat surge over the weekend with highs of 25C expected in parts.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "When the storm arrives it will still maintain some of that energy [from Hurricane Ophelia] but it means it will be downgraded so it won't be a hurricane by the time it reaches the UK.

"At the moment it looks like it's going to track along the side of the west coast of Ireland and just brushes the edge of Scotland.

"However there will be some pretty strong winds but not huge amounts of rain.

"We are going to see some pretty strong conditions, certainly some gales across the west.

"The only place that escapes the strong weather is the east.

"We are going to import some of that heat, we could still see 22/23C on Sunday - it may creep up on Monday."