File photo: AFP.

Miami - A tropical storm has strengthened to a hurricane in the eastern Pacific and will likely become a major hurricane over the weekend, US forecasters warned Saturday.

Hurricane Marie, the eighth of the season, packed sustained winds of nearly 120 kilometers per hour with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

“Steady strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Marie is likely to become a major hurricane on Sunday,” the Miami-based center said.

The storm was far from land - some 355 miles south-southwest of the Mexican port city of Manzanillo - and no storm watches or warnings were in effect for the coast.

However, the NHC said portions of Mexico's south-central and southwestern coast were seeing powerful waves as a result of Marie, and the impact was likely to spread towards the southern Baja California peninsula as the storm strengthens and moves to the northwest.

“These swells are likely to cause extremely dangerous life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the forecasters warned.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lowell - which had been the seventh hurricane of the Pacific season - continued to lose steam.