MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical storm Patricia strengthened off of Mexico's Pacific coast on Wednesday, as it churns toward two major cargo ports and is projected to hit the coast by Friday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday.
Shipping hubs Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas are both within a hurricane watch area set by the NHC, and the storm is forecast to become a hurricane by Thursday night.
Patricia features maximum sustained winds of about 40 miles per hour (64 km/hr), which are expected to strengthen over the next couple days, and is moving toward the west at 12 mph (19 km/h).
The NHC said a turn to the west-northwest is expected by Wednesday night.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Chris Reese)