Updated at 7:27 p.m.

The National Weather Service has upgraded its advisory of a storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, saying the disturbance has a 70 percent chance of intensifying into a tropical storm.

“Environmental conditions are expected to become more conducive for tropical or subtropical cyclone formation on Friday while the system moves west-northwestward or northwestward toward the southeastern United States,” according to a National Weather Service bulletin issued Thursday morning. “With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, all interests along the southeast coast from Georgia through North Carolina should monitor the progress of this (storm).”

The advisory said “a low pressure area centered between Bermuda and the Bahamas is gradually becoming better defined while shower activity is increasing.”

While the probability of the system developing into a tropical storm increased, meteorologist Chris Collins of the National Weather Service office in Newport, which includes Onslow County in its forecast area, said the local forecast has remained the same.

“There has been a slight increase in the probability of it developing into a tropical storm, but the impacts haven’t changed,” Collins said. “There’s still an enhanced chance of rain and thunderstorms and increased chance of rip currents.”

Collins said forecast isn’t a “total washout,” but it is looking like a wet Memorial Day weekend whether the system develops into a tropical storm or not.

The NWS in Newport issued a hazardous weather outlook statement that notes the increased risk of dangerous rip currents Sunday through Wednesday along the beaches in Onslow and Carteret counties. Conditions are also favorable for a small craft advisory for coastal waters from Surf City to Cape Fear from Saturday through early next week.

Rainfall amounts are expected to be highest along the coastal areas.

Emergency officials are keeping an eye on the storm, given that it may arrive during the busy Memorial Day weekend.

North Carolina Emergency Management posted information on social media saying, “regardless of whether the low pressure becomes a named system, winds are not expected to be much of a factor. Periods of heavy rain and strong rip currents will be the primary hazards for the holiday weekend.”

Emergency management officials also noted that the system had not yet developed and details can change.

“We are monitoring the event,” said Charles Smith, spokesman for New Hanover County Emergency Management. “We’re just really trying to identify what actions, if any, need to be taken and have a plan in place so we are not caught off guard.”

“As this system continues to show signs of organization, we are encouraging residents and visitors to take this opportunity to review and update their family and business disaster plans and be ready to (follow) instructions from local officials. Emergency management will continue to monitor the progression of this situation while ensuring our coordination efforts and resources are ready in case activation becomes necessary,” Smith said.

On Wednesday morning, forecasters said the storm’s formation would be slow and weak. At the time, the weather service said the storm’s development potential was 10 percent over the next 48 hours and 50 percent in the next five days.

By Thursday afternoon, the NWS said the storm’s chances of becoming a tropical storm were 60 percent in the next 48 hours and 70 percent over the next five days.

“An Air Force reconnaissance plane will be scheduled to investigate this (storm) on Friday,” the advisory said.

If it develops into a tropical storm, it would be called Bonnie.

A tropical storm brewing this early in the season isn’t unprecedented. Tropical Depression Beryl formed exactly four years ago Thursday on May 26, 2012. That storm soaked the region, but did relatively little damage.

Regardless of the system’s development, the region can expect to see showers and cloudy weather throughout the long Memorial Day weekend.

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SOUTHEASTERN N.C. -- The National Weather Service has upgraded its advisory of a storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, saying the disturbance has a 70 percent chance of intensifying into a tropical storm.

"Environmental conditions are expected to become more conducive for tropical or subtropical cyclone formation on Friday while the system moves west-northwestward or northwestward toward the southeastern United States," according to a National Weather Service bulletin issued Thursday morning. "With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, all interests along the southeast coast from Georgia through North Carolina should monitor the progress of this (storm)."

The advisory said "a low pressure area centered between Bermuda and the Bahamas is gradually becoming better defined while shower activity is increasing."

An updated advisory issued at 11:15 a.m. Thursday said the impact to the region should be "from rainfall and the potential for some flooding. Rainfall amounts are expected to be highest along the coastal areas. In addition, rough surf and the potential for rip currents will likely increase this weekend as well."

Emergency officials are keeping an eye on the storm, given that it may arrive during the busy Memorial Day weekend.

"We are monitoring the event," said Charles Smith, spokesman for New Hanover County Emergency Management. "We're just really trying to identify what actions, if any, need to be taken and have a plan in place so we are not caught off guard."

"As this system continues to show signs of organization, we are encouraging residents and visitors to take this opportunity to review and update their family and business disaster plans and be ready to (follow) instructions from local officials. Emergency management will continue to monitor the progression of this situation while ensuring our coordination efforts and resources are ready in case activation becomes necessary," Smith said.

On Wednesday morning, forecasters said the storm's formation would be slow and weak. At the time, the weather service said the storm's development potential was 10 percent over the next 48 hours and 50 percent in the next five days.

By Thursday morning, the NWS said the storm's chances of becoming a tropical storm were 50 percent in the next 48 hours and 70 percent over the next five days.

"An Air Force reconnaissance plane will be scheduled to investigate this (storm) on Friday," the advisory said.

If it develops into a tropical storm, it would be called Bonnie.

A tropical storm brewing this early in the season isn't unprecedented. Tropical Depression Beryl formed exactly four years ago Thursday on May 26, 2012. That storm soaked the region, but did relatively little damage.

Regardless of the system's development, the National Weather Service in Wilmington has said the region will see showers and cloudy weather throughout the long Memorial Day weekend.

The NWS hurricane center plans to issue its next advisory at 3 p.m. today. Check back later for more on this developing story.

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin | WeatherDB