It has not been all that long since Tropical Storm Allison deluged East Houston, indeed that storm sat and spun around and around for days. East Houston is the lowest part of Houston and all the water filled it up. If you will recall the many semi-truck tractor trailers completely submerged on that freeway you will remember exactly what Rita could render.
The areas directly East of Houston are indeed at sea level give or take a few feet. It is a swamp area. Indeed the City of Beaumont TX, is often flooded from regular storms, which Hurricane Rita is not. New Orleans although it could use some additional water to help dilute all that sludge and pollution, will get much more than it needs before all this is over and the areas North will also, which are flooded already and they will all drain back into that lower area. Areas like St. Charles are barely above water levels as well and are also prone to flooding and some are predicting ten inches or more and the area just cannot handle that level of rain. If this storm peters out after landfall it will sit and spin and give all concerned a very wet time, perhaps almost a week worth of heavy rains and runoff from the higher elevations. South Texas is also very prone to flooding and the entire coastline areas from Houston to Corpus Christi could see a whole lot of muddy water and muck.
Although Hurricane Rita has dropped to a Category IV Hurricane which is still extremely intense, it will increase as it hits the water closer to shore where surface temps are pushing 87 degrees and then it may get a burst as it gets close with temps at 88-89 degrees. There is not a lot in the way of Hurricane Rita and it will also be taking out some of the 670 Production Oil rigs in the Gulf on its way to rip a righteous river where the storm surge makes landfall. This will be something we will never forget, nor should we. Think on this.