MEXICO CITY, July 5 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Erick picked up strength as it approached Mexico's western coast and the country's busy Manzanillo port, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Friday.
The storm was located about 145 miles (233 km) south of the Pacific resort city of Zihuantanejo, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour), the NHC said.
The center added that Erick is expected to skirt the coast over the next couple days as it moves west-northwest, but the storm's center is not expected to make landfall.
Erick is forecast to continue strengthening over the next 48 hours and could be near hurricane strength on Saturday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from the port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan state to Manzanillo, Mexico's top cargo shipping hub, in Colima state.
Erick could dump from 3 to 8 inches (8 to 20 cm) of rain along the coast and cause "life-threatening" flooding and mud slides, the NHC added.
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