CHARLESTON, SC (WCMH) — Hurricane Matthew hit the South Carolina coast Saturday morning with 100 mph winds and storm surges.
Flooding vast areas, downing trees and power lines – the South Carolina Emergency Operation Center said the damage is still being accessed.
NBC4 viewed the damage around Charleston County.
Heavy rain and high tides pushed water into many neighborhoods, flooding both homes and businesses Saturday morning.
Members of the North Charleston Life Changers Covenant Ministry were stunned after returning after the evacuation.
“When we came back to check out the church today we discovered that the water was more than a foot deep in our sanctuary,” said Pastor Charlie Redish.
As water poured in through closed doors, Redish said high winds blew off part of the church roof, soaking their everything inside, including their organ.
“Right now we have opened the doors so the water can just flow back out, because Filbin Creek has gone down a little bit,” Redish said.
5,000 people living on the Isle of Palms evacuated the island Friday, turning their Main Street into a ghost town. City Councilman and life-time resident Jimmy Carroll stayed behind as a caretaker, but with a wary eye.
“I was watching the hurricane like a hawk, if it was anything greater than a category two storm I was out of here,” Carroll said. He said he remembered Hurricane Hugo when it decimated the island in September of 1989.
He said this time the island dodged a bullet.
“Well if you look right down the beach there were boardwalks and stairs coming down and they are all gone now.” He said the sand dune did its job keeping the storm surge away from the homes. Heavy rains flooded some of the interior roads, but he said boarded up homes received little damage.
Local police are allowing only those living on the island back in. Throughout South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said classes have been cancelled for at least Monday in 26 school district
Authorities said it is still too early to know what kind of assistance will be available for those with storm damage.