Residents and officials were taking stock of the damage on Thursday. Michael was a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale, just shy of a rare Category 5, when it came ashore. By 8am EDT (1200 GMT) on Thursday it had been downgraded to a tropical storm with 50mph (85kph) winds as it pushed through Georgia into the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center said. Michael had rapidly intensified as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico in recent days, growing from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane in about 40 hours and catching many by surprise. Only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the so-called Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys were more intense.
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