Published: Sep 17, 2010 2:43 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 17, 2010 12:43 PM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane Karl has strengthened to a Category 3 storm as it roars toward ports and oil installations on Mexico's Gulf Coast.

Karl's maximum sustained winds increased to near 120 mph (195 kph) early Friday with some additional strengthening possible before the hurricane makes landfall.

Karl is located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, and is moving west near 9 mph (15 kph).

The Mexican government has issued a hurricane warning for a 186-mile (300-kilometer) stretch of coast in Veracruz state, stretching northward from the city of the same name. On its predicted path, Karl could make landfall between the port of Veracruz and the oil hub of Poza Rica.