Newly formed Tropical Storm Rachel strengthened Thursday over open waters off Mexico's Pacific coast, though it was expected to pose little threat to land.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Thursday morning were near 50 mph, and further strengthening was forecast, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Rachel, which reached tropical storm force late Wednesday, was centered about 455 miles south of the tip of the Baja California Peninsula and was moving west-northwest at 13 mph.

The forecast track would carry the storm a little further out to sea at just below hurricane strength, then loop it back toward the Baja peninsula next week as a fading depression.