Hurricane Matthew will continue to affect millions of people along the Southeast coast Saturday with driving rain, ferocious winds and devastating storm surge flooding.
As of 8 a.m. ET, Matthew had 85 mph winds and was located 20 miles from Charleston, S.C.. It was moving to the northeast at 12 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Just because Matthew has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane doesn't mean it's a weak hurricane. It will still unleash extremely heavy rain and cause widespread flooding, the hurricane center warned.
Areas at greatest risk from the storm Saturday are coastal sections of Georgia and North and South Carolina, where hurricane warnings remain in effect.
The center of Matthew will continue to move near or over the coast of South Carolina Saturday and be near the coast of southern North Carolina by Saturday night, according to the hurricane center.
Storm surge flooding: Storm surge — which is ocean water pushed inland by the hurricane — could be as high as 6 to 9 feet along portions of the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. In South Carolina, the flooding could be the worst seen since 1989's Hurricane Hugo in some locations, according to the National Weather Service.
High winds: Along the immediate coast of South Carolina, gusts will range from 60 to 80 mph as the western part of the outer eyewall moves along, according to AccuWeather. However, a few gusts could exceed 80 mph. Winds this strong can cause significant property damage and widespread power outages.
Rain: Matthew is forecast to dump as much as 8 to 12 inches of rain from Georgia eastern North Carolina, forecasters said. Some areas could see as much as 15 inches of rain, which could lead to flooding and flash flooding, even in inland areas. The combination of saturated ground, runoff from torrential rain, unusually high tides and storm surge is expected to cause extreme flooding along the coast, Weather Channel meteorologist Bryan Norcross said.
Timing of the storm:
Georgia coast: Saturday morning
South Carolina: All day Saturday through Saturday night
North Carolina (mainly south): Saturday afternoon through early Sunday