Mexico City: Tropical Storm Fernand is heading toward a Wednesday afternoon landfall along a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico's upper Gulf coast.

The US National Hurricane Center said Fernand had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) late Tuesday. It was centered about 120miles (190 kilometers) northeast of Tampico and moving to the west at 3 mph (6 kph).

Forecasts say the storm could drop 6 to 12 inches of rain, with as much as 15 inches in isolated spots.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific, Hurricane Juliette has strengthened into a Category 3 storm far off Mexico's coast, but forecasters say it will continue to move away from shore and pose no threat to land as it slowly weakens over the next few days.