As Hurricane Rita came ashore near Beaumont, Texas, it wasdowngraded to a tropical storm and continues to weaken as itmoves inland. The system is moving slowly and is expected todump upwards of 10 inches of rain across east Texas andLouisiana, with 5 or more inches in New Orleans.Nevertheless, early damage assessments suggest that there isextensive wind damage in many coastal communities. NewOrleans' stricken 9th Ward is once again under 8 feet ofwater.
The storm did not gain energy as it neared land, which hashappened with some hurricanes recently. Damage is stillbeing assessed in coastal communities where it hit as aCategory 3 hurricane, but it is not expected to be on thescale of the damage caused by Katrina.
The main problem is liable to be flooding inland, as thestorm contains a vast amount of moisture, and the NationalWeather Service has warned that up to 25 inches of raincould fall in some areas.
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