But forecasters say the system remains a major rainmaker.
At least one person was killed and several others injured when tornadoes tore through portions of Mississippi on Saturday as remnants of Hurricane Rita pushed inland with heavy rains and violent winds. But even though, as a hurricane, Rita pummeled east Texas and the Louisiana coast, there's relief that it wasn't as fierce or as deadly as Hurricane Katrina. Rita even spared Houston, New Orleans and other major cities a direct hit.
Many Houston evacuees are apparently ignoring the pleas of state and local officials to stay put for a little longer. Thousands of residents of the nation's fourth-largest city have begun heading home. But officials say they need more time to restock gas stations, clear debris and restore power. Nevertheless, by midday, roads from Austin to Houston were clogging. And traffic has picked up on I-45, the main north-south artery from Dallas to Galveston, with vehicles full of children, pillows and pets. What the evacuees are coming home to is unclear. Stores are closed. Bank machines have no cash. And there are long lines at the few open gas stations. Also, school districts in the area are closed until Wednesday. The state's homeland security director is urging a staggered return of residents starting Sunday.