Forecasters say tropical storm Richard is meandering in the Caribbean but could still become a hurricane over the weekend.

Richard's maximum sustained winds Thursday were near 65 kilometres an hour. Additional strengthening is forecast for the storm, the 17th named storm of the Atlantic season.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the tropical storm could dump rains on Honduras on Friday and could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. A tropical storm watch has been issued for Honduras from the border with Nicaragua west to the town of Limon.

As of 11 p.m. ET, Richard was located about 385 kilometres south-southeast of Grand Cayman and was moving slowly to the west.