The Met Office upgraded its weather warning from yellow to amber - the second highest - as it predicted severe winds would batter the country from the early today, creating hazardous conditions for rush-hour travellers.
Scotrail estimated just 37% of services would run today as it revealed at least 20 routes on which services are not expected to operate as Network Rail Scotland imposed weather safety restrictions.
The train operator was been forced to cancel all train services before 7am and has cut the number of trains on the busiest routes. The rail network will be restricted to a maximum speed of 40mph
The winds are also likely to hit ferry services and lead to speed restrictions on some bridges. Motorists have been urged to take extra care after flood warnings were issued for central Scotland, Fife, and Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Senior Met Office adviser Graeme Forrester said: "The worst of the conditions are forecast in the Highlands and northern Scotland. However, parts of the central belt will also be affected by some very strong winds during Thursday morning's rush-hour period."
The winds are expected to die down by the beginning of the afternoon.
In a statement, Scotrail said it would resume a normal timetable once it was safe to do so that details of which routes were running would be listed on their website.
Snow is also forecast for northern Scotland.