HIGH winds and heavy rain have caused havoc across the county tonight.

Flood alerts have been issued, roads are closed and power is out at hundreds of homes.

And the Met Office is also warning of further rain moving in to the region on Friday and Saturday.

The Environment Agency says flood alerts - its lowest level of warning - have been issued for:

* The rivers Brathay, Rothay and Winster

* The coast of Morecambe Bay

* River Eden and its tributaries from its confluence with the River Irthing through Crosby-on-Eden and Carlisle to the Solway Firth at Rockcliffe

* The coast from St Bees Head near Whitehaven to Millom

Of the risk to the three South Lakeland rivers, the Environment Agency said in its warning: "A band of heavy rainfall, intense at times, is forecast for this evening accompanied by very strong to gale force winds. This may cause rivers, streams and lake levels to rise overnight.

"The rain band is expected to clear the country before midnight."

Elsewhere Cumbria Police are dealing with a number of incidents because of the weather and have introduced a blanket 50mph speed restriction between junction 35 and junction 40 on the M6.

The motorway is shut southbound between junctions 38, Tebay, and J37, Kendal, because of an overturned lorry - although it is unclear whether the weather played a part in this incident.

It is only passable on the hard shoulder.

A police spokesman said: "Motorists are to expect significant delays and are asked to slow down as the recovery of a HGV takes place.

"People are advised to only travel if their journey is essential and seek alternative routes in those areas which are affected.

"If travel is essential please exercise caution due to the dangerous conditions."

Police also advised that high-sided vehicles do not take the A6 as a diversion due to high winds.

Due to a power fault, the motorway signs are unable to display warnings to southbound traffic.

And the A6 is closed both ways closed due to fallen tree between Jackson's Lane at Shap and Priestclose Lane at Hackthorpe. Police said there are a number of fallen trees and damaged trees overhanging the road.

The road is expected to be closed for some time.

Police are also dealing with a number of incidents in west Cumbria.

Inkerman Terrace in Whitehaven is closed due to reports of a tree falling and blocking the road.

Barncroft Avenue, Seaton is closed after a roof was blown off a property and the A595 at Moota is closed in both directions because the roof has been blown off the Moota Hotel.

Meanwhile a number of homes across the region are without power due to a high voltage fault.

Homes affected include those in the Coniston, Lindale, Bentham, Kirkby Stephen, Tebay and Broughton-in-Furness areas.

Electricity North West said supply should be back on for most around 10pm, although some may have to wait until early tomorrow morning.

Earlier today, the Met Office issued a 'yellow' warning for the public to be aware of rain across the North West including Cumbria this Friday and Saturday.

It read: "An area of heavy rain along with strong to gale force winds is expected to cross the north of the UK from Friday afternoon and into the early hours of Saturday morning.

"This will bring some locally large accumulations, particularly on hills and following previous wet weather, is likely to lead to some localised flooding across north west England."

However, the Chief Forecaster for the Met Office, said some uncertainty still remained about the weekend forecast and it was likely to be updated in the coming days.