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Louisiana, Texas Authorities Urge Evacuees to Be Patient

Governors of U.S. Gulf Coast states are urging millions of evacuees to avoid returning to their homes too soon, after Hurricane Rita flooded some areas and left more than one million people without power.

Despite the warning, highways are jammed with cars heading back toward coastal towns in Louisiana and Texas. Millions of people had evacuated before the storm hit late Friday in an exodus that created traffic jams as long as 160 kilometers.

Rescue workers have plucked stranded residents from rooftops and swirling floodwaters in Louisiana's low-lying coastal communities. Louisiana's governor Kathleen Blanco says, in some instances, rescuers were saving evacuees who had returned to their homes too quickly after Rita passed, unaware of dangerous flooding.

Although smaller coastal towns in Louisiana and Texas were pounded, the cities of Houston and New Orleans were largely unscathed. In Mississippi, one person was killed by a tornado spun off by the hurricane.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.