Published: Sep 01, 2010 10:15 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 01, 2010 7:15 AM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane Earl has weakened to a Category 3 storm as it threatens to sideswipe the East Coast.

Meanwhile, a hurricane watch that had been effect for the North Carolina coast has been extended to the Virginia coast early Wednesday.

Earl's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 125 mph. But the National Hurricane Center in Miami says fluctuations in strength are possible over the next 48 hours.

Earl is located about 815 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving northwest near 16 mph.