Some of the South's most historic cities faced the weakening but still powerful Hurricane Matthew as it plowed north along the Atlantic coast Saturday, flooding towns and gouging out roads in its path. The storm killed at least four people in Florida and knocked out power to more than 1 million homes and businesses, even though its strongest winds stayed just offshore, the AP reports. Matthew was making itself felt in South Carolina Saturday morning. Hurricane-force winds were moving onshore at Hilton Head and Pritchards Island, South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center reported. The Category 2 hurricane will near North Carolina's southern coast by Saturday night, the center says.
"We have been very fortunate that Matthew's strongest winds have remained a short distance offshore of the Florida and Georgia coasts thus far, but this should not be a reason to let down our guard," the Hurricane Center says. CNN reports that storm surges along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina could reach 6 to 9 feet, and up to 12 inches of rain could bring flooding to the Carolinas. Historic downtown Charleston, usually bustling with tourists, was eerily quiet, with many stores and shops boarded up with plywood and protected by stacks of sandbags. The city announced a midnight-to-6am curfew Saturday, about the time the coast was expected to take the brunt of the storm.