October 08, 2016 - 3:40 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Latest on Hurricane Matthew's impact on South Carolina (all times local):
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says more than 825,000 homes and businesses remain without power after Hurricane Matthew raked the state.
Haley said at a Saturday evening news conference that she hopes power restoration efforts can begin Sunday as the storm moves out of the state.
Authorities say 15 miles of Interstate 95 south of the North Carolina border remain closed due to flooding.
Another section of I-95 southbound lanes are closed north of Beaufort because of flooding.
Haley says no deaths in South Carolina have been reported but she warned that people searching have not been able to get to some areas.
Haley hopes that local officials can rescind some evacuation orders Sunday.
More than three quarters of a million people in South Carolina are now in the dark after Hurricane Matthew hit the state.
Numbers reported by utilities serving the state show that almost 755,000 electric customers have no power. That number is an increase from 485,000 late this morning.
Matthew is not done with South Carolina yet and rain bands from the storm offshore continue to spin into Horry County and the Pee Dee in the northeastern corner of the state.
Hurricane Matthew ate away at the beach on Folly Beach but did no major structural damage to homes on the island southwest of Charleston.
Power is out to the Charleston County community that likes to refer to itself as The Edge of America. In some places Matthew pushed waves up to the dunes.
Along oceanfront Arctic Avenue the main evidence of the storm is some water on the road and pieces of palm fronds. A fence by a rental house was blown over and there were some downed trees on the road leading to the mainland.
City police have a checkpoint at the bridge leading to the island and are keeping out sightseers. Only those who live there or who have business there are being allowed in.
And there was good news for islanders late Saturday as the sun tried to peak through the clouds left in the wake of Matthew. Two South Carolina Electric & Gas bucket trucks were driving over the bridge to the island.
The soaring Ravenel Bridge linking Charleston and Mount Pleasant is closed in the wake of Hurricane Matthew so Department of Transportation engineers can inspect the span.
There's no timetable for the reopening, although the DOT says it intends to have the eight-lane, $500 million bridge open as soon as possible.
The bridge opened in 2005, and its design allows for some movement of bridge elements. However, Hurricane Matthew is the first time the bridge has been exposed to sustained high winds.
While the bridge can be monitored with remote sensors, department officials want a closer look after the span's brush with Matthew.
Closing the bridges means those travelling between Charleston and Mount Pleasant must take a 30-mile detour on Interstate 526.
Beaufort County sheriff's deputies say it may be days before vehicles can get onto some of the county's smaller islands after Hurricane Matthew passed closely by the area.
Sheriff's Capt. Bob Bromage said Saturday the state department of transportation will need to send engineers to check on the bridges to several small islands east of Beaufort. Bromage said the engineers are needed just to be on the safe side.
He also says a dusk to dawn curfew will continue Saturday night and into Sunday. Beaufort County was under an evacuation order before Matthew struck the area.
Gov. Nikki Haley said residents who evacuated should not expect to return home Saturday or Sunday.
About 10 sailboats were tossed together and washed ashore at the Palmetto Bay Marina on Hilton Head Island by Hurricane Matthew.
The docks at the marina appeared to have broken loose sometime early Saturday as Matthew's surge ran up the Harbor River near the bridge on the Cross Island parkway.
Residents on the island also said that docks may have also come loose at Harbour Town Golf Links, damaging boats. But that part of the island was inaccessible by vehicle Saturday afternoon.
Many of the homes on the resort island appear to have survived without major damage. But trees were down and blocked a number of roads on the island that is home to 40,000 permanent residents.
Matthew moved by the island early Saturday with heavy rains and winds of up to 88 mph.
The homes and resorts along the Atlantic Ocean on Hilton Head Island appear to have survived Hurricane Matthew.
Hundreds of trees and limbs littered the beachside road, and a few feet of water washed up from the beach, but the area appears to be mostly unscathed.
At Coligny Beach Park, it was evident the storm surge made it well past the 50 yards of sand that are typically dry even at high tide.
Some of the seawater was left behind and a few residents were cleaning out storm drains to get rid of it.
Matthew passed by Hilton Head Island about 20 miles offshore early Saturday, with winds as high as 88 mph.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says the city is starting to assess the damage from Hurricane Matthew, which caused about 100 roads and streets in the city to be closed because of high water.
Tecklenburg said the all clear to return for the thousands of people who evacuated will have to come from Gov. Nikki Haley and state officials. Tecklenburg said even when Charleston is cleaned up, there could be problems with roads or flooding in other areas of the state that would prevent people from returning.
Haley said people should not expect to go home Saturday or Sunday.
The mayor spoke just minutes after the hurricane made landfall Saturday morning near McClellan Ville, about 40 miles northeast of Charleston.
Tecklenburg says there is serious street flooding in the hospital district where the Medical University of South Carolina is located.
Hurricane Matthew has now cut power to almost a half million electric customers in South Carolina.
The latest figures from electric utilities show that about 485,000 customers across the state have been left in the dark by the rains and winds of the hurricane which is passing along the coast, Matthew is expected to move beyond the state by late Saturday.
Most of those outages are in coastal areas, but there are about 44,000 electric customers without power in Richland and Lexington counties.
The Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach is all but deserted as Hurricane Matthew continues its march up the Eastern Seaboard.
But that didn't stop some of the city's residents from venturing onto the beach Saturday morning to look at the ocean ahead of the storm's arrival.
Julie Patton is riding out Matthew at her home and called the sheriff's department before venturing out. She says they said told her and her husband that it would be OK to be out at that time.
As she watched the breakers hit the pier, the Indiana transplant who recently moved to Myrtle Beach said her family will stay at home and wait it out instead of joining the thousands who evacuated to points further inland.
Some residents on Hilton Head Island who rode out Hurricane Matthew called the experience "exhilarating," while others said it was the scariest thing they had done.
But residents of Hilton Head Island agreed Sunday morning they were thankful to be alive.
Ellis Clemons rode out his second hurricane on the island. Clemons was on the island for Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and said Matthew was worse. But Clemons says he wouldn't have traded the experience for anything, asking "How many times do you get to do that?"
Russ Johnson felt differently. He moved to Hilton Head Island earlier this year.
Johnson says the wind and pounding rain were frightening enough before the power went out at 4:30 a.m. "Those two hours of darkness were some of my scariest times, " Johnson said.
He said he lost part of the roof of his home but managed to save his boat, which he parked at his property instead of leaving it at the marina.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is warning South Carolinians that Hurricane Matthew is still a danger across the state.
Haley met with reporters late Saturday morning to urge the state's residents to continue to be careful as the storm moves northeast along the coast.
The governor said no deaths have been attributed to Matthew in South Carolina.
She said those who have evacuated should not expect to go home either Saturday or Sunday while crews check to make sure areas are safe.
The governor said about 437,000 electric customers have lost service across the state.
She said nearly 7,000 people were in shelters.
The governor also said part of Interstate 95 was blocked in southern South Carolina. The state transportation department said the southbound lanes are blocked from near state Highway 462 and the South Carolina-Georgia state line. A number of trees were down in the area.
Emergency officials in South Carolina are reminding people that all evacuation orders are still in effect as Hurricane Matthew moves up the coast.
Matthew the state early Saturday with hurricane and tropical storm force winds, heavy rains and flooding along the coast and in areas well inland.
Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division said in a statement that forecasters say hazardous conditions will continue to affect the state for at least the next 12 hours.
Becker says people from Hilton Head Island to North Myrtle Beach are asked to stay away from the evacuated areas until conditions improve and the danger passes.
Gov. Nikki Haley was to update the situation across South Carolina late Saturday morning.
Torrential rains and gusty winds have bent trees and sent broken palmetto fronds skipping along streets in Charleston's historic district as the western edge of the eyewall of Hurricane Matthew spins past the city.
But Charleston seemed to be spared any serious damage Saturday.
The storm ripped down several awnings over stores along the King Street shopping district. Streets were flooded at one end of the popular City Market, one of the favourite spots for the millions of tourists who visit the city each year.
Several cars stood in pools of water up to their bumpers.
Numerous other streets and intersections in the area had standing water.
South Battery was also flooded with water washing over the sidewalk next to the seawall. The street of palatial homes at the point of the Charleston peninsula overlooks the city's White Point Gardens.
Pine trees have fallen all over Hilton Head Island after the area endured a few hours of hurricane-force gusts overnight from Hurricane Matthew.
The two roads leading onto the island of 40,000 people were blocked by trees early Saturday. At least 1 foot of water covered a number of roads.
Only a few vehicles were driving around Saturday morning sightseeing. One couple was trying to get back to their home after they evacuated but were blocked by downed trees. Chandler Brunson and her fiance had evacuated earlier.
Power appeared to be off throughout the island.
Winds had died down to an occasional stiff breeze and the rains had mostly stopped by dawn. Earlier Saturday, the island reported a wind gust of 88 mph as the storm moved to the northeast.
Hurricane Matthew has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm as it lashes the South Carolina coast.
The National Hurricane Center said Matthew was 20 miles south-southeast of Charleston at 8 a.m. Saturday. Highest winds had dropped to 85 mph. The storm was moving to the northeast at 12 mph.
The storm is expected to be off the coast of North Carolina by Saturday night. The hurricane centre says a wind gust of 76 mph was reported on Folly Beach on Saturday morning. Orangeburg had a wind gust of 55 mph.
Forecasters say the storm surge is ranging from 6 to 9 feet as far north as Edisto Beach. The surge is expected to range from 5 feet to 7 feet from Edisto into southeastern North Carolina.
As much as 1 foot of rain was possible east of Interstate 95.
Charleston photographer Leigh Webber watched the torrential rains early Saturday from the porch of her home in a residential area north of the city's historic district.
Webber said things were not as bad as she expected. She said she thinks there has been less rain than fell in last October's storm. Rains in Oct. 2015 caused what officials called a 1,000-year flood which forced the closing of Charleston for several days.
Webber had no problem with the early calls to get people evacuated. She said conditions would be worse if more people were in the area.
She says she feels badly for businesses that have been closed since Wednesday. Webber said hotels are closed and some weddings have been cancelled and that's causing a huge financial loss for some people.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to move beyond South Carolina by late Saturday, but children in Charleston County will get another day off school Monday. Schools in many districts in the eastern half of the state have been closed since Wednesday as the storm approached.
Charleston County officials say that there will be no classes Monday because many students and teachers evacuated inland and will be returning home during the next several days. The district said that heavy rains may cause water damage in schools and several schools are being used for evacuation shelters and will need to be cleaned.
In Horry County, Monday is a teacher work day so children don't have school. The Beaufort County district website says classes are expected Monday but that families should check the site and local media in case that changes.
Much of Beaufort County has lost power as the strongest winds and heaviest rains of Hurricane Matthew slam into the county as the eye of the storm passes offshore.
Streets were deserted just before dawn Saturday and nearly every traffic light was out on US 278, the main road to Hilton Head Island.
Similar conditions are reported on roads near Beaufort in the northern part of the county.
Tree limbs and other small debris littered roads and parking lots.
Authorities have told residents who evacuated that officials will need to do damage assessments before allowing people back into the communities.
Emergency officials in South Carolina are urging people to stay where they are as Hurricane Matthew pounds the state.
Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division said Saturday morning people need to stay inside and not try to get on the roads.
Becker says roads are flooded and officials have seen "water go where it shouldn't"
More than 215,000 electric customers are without power across the state, most along the coast.
Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to give an update on the situation in South Carolina at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Rain was falling across all but the northwestern corner of the state early Saturday. Hurricane force winds gusts of 81 mph were reported at Hilton Head Island with gusts of 65 mph in the Beaufort area.
Heavy rains from Hurricane Matthew are bringing some of the highest tides on record along the South Carolina coast. The National Weather Service in Charleston reports that a tide of 8.8 feet above mean low water early Saturday tied the third-highest on record.
A tide of more than 11 feet at Fort Pulaski near Savannah was the second-highest on record.
Streets and intersections in Charleston are flooded and online video shows the rains and winds buffeting the vintage aircraft atop the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum on Charleston Harbor.
Curfews expire at dawn for many communities in the Charleston area but officials are urging people to stay inside because of the flooded roads and downed power lines.
Hurricane Matthew has cut power to more than 150,000 electric customers in South Carolina as the storm moves its way along the coast. Most of the outages were reported in the Beaufort and the Charleston areas.
About 4:30 a.m. the eye of the storm was near Hilton Head Island as the hurricane lashed the coast with hurricane-force winds.
The National Weather Service in Charleston reported that an 84 mph wind gust was reported on Hilton Head Island while a 94 mph gust was reported on Tybee Island, Georgia.
In the Charleston area dozens of roads and intersections were flooded by rising waters or blocked by downed trees.
There are now almost 72,000 electric customers without power in South Carolina as Hurricane Matthew lashes the state.
The majority of the outages reported so far are in the Beaufort and Charleston areas, which were the first to feel the impact of the storm.
Matthew, now a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 mph, is expected to track along the South Carolina coast through the day on Saturday.
Dozens of streets and intersections in the Charleston area are impassable because of flooding and downed trees as a result of rains and winds from Hurricane Matthew.
But the closures aren't causing traffic problems because there is no traffic. Charleston and most nearby communities have curfews in effect until daybreak.
In Charleston and North Charleston alone officials reported more than 35 streets and intersections were flooded.
The streets near the popular Charleston Market were flooded and U.S. 17, the main north-south route along the South Carolina coast, is impassable where it passes through Charleston.
A year ago, during what has been called a 1,000-year rain storm, there was so much flooding in Charleston the downtown area was closed to traffic for several days.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016