RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Duke Energy Sunday started warning customers in Florida about the approach of Tropical Storm Idalia, which is forecast to strike the state as a hurricane and move over North Carolina with high winds and torrential rains.

Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, said the company is activating its storm center and preparing crews and equipment ahead of the forecast hurricane. On Sunday, a state of emergency was declared for 33 Florida counties.

After possibly hitting the Florida panhandle midweek as a Category 1 hurricane, the storm is forecast to track over Georgia and eventually North Carolina with winds at or near tropical storm levels.

“Heavy rainfall is also likely to spread into portions of the Carolinas by Wednesday into Thursday,” the National Hurricane Center warned Sunday.

In the past, hurricanes with similar tracks brought damaging winds and flooding rains to North Carolina — in the mountains, the Raleigh area and closer to the coast.

In a news release Sunday, Duke Energy said crews and resources located are strategically throughout Florida – near areas that will likely be affected.

Crews from Duke Energy recently responded to a major storm that hit central North Carolina. Just 12 days ago, more than 70,000 customers were without power in Durham County when a deadly storm swept through.

Even two days after the storm, school was canceled and thousands were still without power.