Authorities in Jamaica have issued a weather alert as a storm system gains strength southeast of the island in the Caribbean Sea.

The Jamaica Meteorological Service advised small vessels to return to shore Monday as the storm was moving west with strong winds and heavy rain. It says that flash flooding is likely across the island as a result of the storm, especially in low-lying areas in southern Jamaica.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the system has winds of up to 45 mph and appears to be on a track toward Central America. If the system strengthens, it could be upgraded to Tropical Storm Earl later Monday.