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As the hurricane closed in, authorities estimated that 90,000 people ignored evacuation orders along the Gulf Coast.
Authorities concede that at least some of those who haven't turned up could have been washed out to sea.
One survivor told of seeing a friend wrenched from the rafters by the storm's fury and swept out to sea.
In Galveston County, where about 15,000 residents stayed behind, officials did not have an exact number of missing residents.