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Tropical Weather North Carolina

Robert Patch and John Courtney, of Local Builder's Construction, install wood paneling over windows at the Armstrong Grocery , Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, in New Bern, N.C., as storeowners and residents prepare for Hurricane Florence. (Gray Whitley/Sun Journal via AP)

BLOOMINGTON — As Hurricane Florence makes a beeline for the East Coast, State Farm is gearing up to help its customers after the storm hits.

“We're fully prepared and ready to respond to Hurricane Florence,” said Michal Brower, a State Farm public affairs specialist with responsibility for the North and South Carolina area.

On Tuesday, Brower said the insurer is “monitoring the situation” and having meetings to “have resources ready to go.”

In advance of the storm, State Farm is sharing safety tips with customers in the areas expected to be affected, she said, as well as moving emergency response personnel closer to the region.

“Our immediate concern right now is for anyone who is in the path of the storm,” said Brower.

State Farm's website advises people to follow a hurricane evacuation plan to protect themselves and their families.

Emergency officials have warned that the storm's strong winds and heavy rainfall have the potential to cause massive damage. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents, “Don't bet your life on riding out a monster.”

The storm is not expected to make landfall until Friday, but tropical-storm-force winds will be felt in the Carolinas a day ahead of that, forecasters said.

State Farm catastrophe response teams will move into the area once it's safe to do so, but Brower noted that phone lines are staffed at all times.

“In addition to our on-the-ground teams, we're supported by our in-office staff at three hub locations,” she said.

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Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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