SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The Bay Area is hunkering down for a major storm expected to hit on Thursday. Officials are warning of extremely high winds and rain that could cause hazardous driving conditions, but Golden Gate ferry service will still be running during the commute.

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol will be closely monitoring wind conditions at the Richmond – San Rafael Bridge. The National Weather Service is saying wind gusts could reach as high as 50 miles an hour in that area, but even more throughout the area.

Many Bay Area schools are closing as a precautionary measure, mostly for what seems to be an imposing threat of power outages. Several employers are allowing workers to telecommute.

Transit services in Marin County, however, will be up and running. CHP Spokesperson Deana McDermott said if you absolutely must be on the road to report to work, the bottom line is, “being late is better arriving alive than it is to be involved in a collision.”

Last week’s storms brought Highway 101 to a crawl. McDermott said if you can limit the amount of time you go out, whether that means going out to the store, or if you’re en route to pick up your kids; maybe limit it to one trip.

Meanwhile, Golden Gate Bridge spokesperson Priya Clemens has said that ferry boats on The Bay will be running.

“Right now the ferry captains believe they can run on schedule,” she said referring to their regular boats. “If the weather gets worse, then we’ll probably bring in one of our Spaulding vessels,” Clemens said adding that they are a more stable craft.

She said high winds would not likely close the Golden Gate Bridge, but McDermott said that could happen on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge since they have to be “cognizant” of strong gusts.

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