UK set to be lashed by Hurricane Ophelia's tail on 30th anniversary of Great Storm

One of the devastating consequences of the "Great Storm" of 1987 in the South East
One of the devastating consequences of the "Great Storm" of 1987 in the South East

Hurricane Ophelia is crossing the Atlantic Ocean and could bring wet weather and gusts of up to 70mph when it hits Britain's shores.

The tropical storm was named a hurricane overnight and the US National Hurricane Centre has warned it could strengthen over the coming days.

The remnants of Ophelia look set to reach the UK on Monday, with unsettled weather expected to cause disruption, the Met Office said.

The west of the country will see the worst of the weather, with winds of between 60mph and 70mph forecast.

It will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Stormof 1987, which hit southern England overnight on October 15.

The storm caused damage estimated at £1billion and claimed 18 lives.

The North East escaped the worst of the storm, and looks set to avoid Ophelia too.

Tomorrow is forecast for periods of rain in the North East, and the outlook for the weekend is for cloud and mainly light rain in the west of the region, and drier, warmer and brighter in the east.

The Met Office outlook for the North East on Sunday, the anniversary of the Great Storm, is for breezy conditions. Monday looks set to be windy with more cloud and rain.

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkhill 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."

Mr Burkhill said cold sea temperatures mean Ophelia will not be strong enough to be categorised as a hurricane when it hits Britain.

But he added: "It's definitely something that we are keeping an eye on, for the possibility of some disruptive weather early next week."

The unsettled weather looks likely to continue into Tuesday due to a separate band of low pressure, and will remain changeable throughout the rest of the week.