Some chose not to evacuate from the path of Hurricane Rita, but rather to ride out the storm. "Good Morning America" checked in with a few of those people in Texas to see how they fared after their harrowing night, now that the storm has passed.
Glen Johnson decided to stay behind in Beaumont, Texas, because he and his wife own three businesses within two blocks of their home. His wife and two sons left the area, and they encouraged him to do the same. But Johnson decided to stay behind because he felt he could best protect their assets.
He said he won't stay in the path of a hurricane again.
"Next time, I'll board them up and I'm leaving," he said. "That wasn't the smartest decision I've ever made. It always seems like a good idea at the time, I suppose. But nothing like five hours of constant abuse to change your mind there. It sounded like jets were flying over the house."
After the storm passed, Johnson was able to survey the damage to his home. One tree fell on his house, he said, crashing into the master bedroom. Plus, all the shingles on the roof were gone.
"It looks like winter," he said, "because all the leaves are gone from the trees."
He said he took a short walk to see how his businesses fared. One was fine, but another -- a car wash -- was completely destroyed.
"I feel sorry for my employees who won't have a place to go to next week," he said.
The Lidstones -- an extended family of 12, with members ranging in age from 3 to 79 -- decided to wait out the storm in their hometown of Galveston, Texas.
They wanted to stay in the same place together, so they chose the Bank of America building, where one family member works. The nine-story, concrete building sits on high ground.
They brought the essentials: toilet paper, matresses, water, beer, and iPods.
While they waited out the storm, they said they maintained a positive attitude by playing cards, listening to music and watching TV.
Reality set in, they said, when they witnessed part of downtown Galveston go up in flames.