updated 10/15/2009 11:02:26 PM ET 2009-10-16T03:02:26

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Rick is quickly gaining strength off Mexico's western coast, and it could become a hurricane by Friday.

On Thursday night, the storm was centered about 345 miles (555 kilometers) south-southeast of Acapulco, on the southern tip of the Baja peninsula.

The storm's top sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 kph). Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say the system could strengthen into a hurricane.

The storm is moving to the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 kph).

The five-day forecast track shows the system staying off the Mexican coast.

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