More than 22,000 electric customers in South Carolina are without power with winds and rains from Hurricane Matthew buffeting the state.
Power company outage maps show that the majority of the customers without power are in Charleston and Beaufort counties, among the first areas in the state to feel the impacts of the storm.
State officials have warned there could be widespread outages, especially near the coast, as storm winds sweep the state and the eye tracks just off the coastline overnight and through the day Saturday. Conditions are expected to start improving by Saturday night.
As Category 2 Hurricane Matthew moves toward the state, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday evening "now is the time we ask for prayer."
Haley, in an update on storm preparations that ended with a prayer, said that an estimated 355,000 people have fled coastal areas in advance of the storm - 45,000 more than Friday morning.
The worst effects of the hurricane will be felt overnight and into Saturday with the storm projected to trace the South Carolina coast as it moves by.
Haley said of particular concern is that that the worst will be felt in Beaufort County at the time of high tide early Saturday and in Horry County at the time of high tide late Saturday afternoon.
She said the state has done everything that it can to prepare and plans for the recovery are being put into motion. She said that 2,500 members of the National Guard have been called up.