Hurricane Matthew is now a Category 1 storm, with maximum sustained winds at 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The northern eyewall continues to bring hurricane force winds to the South Carolina coast, and will move northeast along the coast at 12 mph.
Matthew’s dangerous eyewall was battering South Carolina’s southern shores Saturday morning, as the 2 storm pushed — or was poised to push — dangerous amounts of seawater and rain along the coast of that state as well as Georgia and North Carolina.
Matthew, a storm that left destruction and killed hundreds in the Caribbean and at least four people in Florida, continued its trek up the southeastern US coast with 105 mph winds at the center.
In Charleston, the coastal South Carolina city devastated by storm surges from 1989’s Hurricane Hugo, driving rain fell early Saturday as Matthew’s powerful center moved close.
High tide later Saturday could push water “well into the city,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
Flooding is a big concern from coastal Georgia through the eastern Carolinas. Storm surges could be life-threatening in areas, potentially reaching 6 to 9 feet from south of Savannah, Georgia, up through Edisto Beach, South Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Up to 15 inches of rain are possible near and east of Interstate 95 in South Carolina and North Carolina — and that would be “a flash-flood event on (even) a normal day,” Myers said.