DALLAS, Texas - For some of the 2 million people seeking safety from Hurricane Gustav, they could run but they couldn't hide.

The same storm they fled threatens to dump up to 2 feet of rain on parts of Texas and Louisiana, possibly keeping many evacuees from going home as quickly as they would like, and extending their stays in hotels and overcrowded shelters.

Nerves were already fraying at a shelter in Shreveport, La., where evacuees packed together for three days were starting to fight and question their decision to leave home in the first place.

The rusted, vacant Sam's Warehouse converted into an evacuation center had a capacity of 2,600 people, but the crowd inside swelled to nearly 3,000 as stragglers arrived overnight. A single television allowed evacuees to see what was happening at home. Four or five minor fights broke out, shelter officials said.

"People are desperate. They don't know if they are going to have a place to go home to," said Emma McClure, 37, who was there with three children, three sisters and some 20 nephews. "They had three years to plan this, and now I wish I had stayed in the city like I did during Katrina."

Gulf Coast residents have often been reluctant to evacuate - dreading the bumper-to-bumper traffic, the hassle of finding a place to stay and the expense of gasoline, restaurants and hotel rooms - only to return to an unscathed home.

But three years nearly to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit, many residents were glad to leave ahead of Gustav, which glanced New Orleans on Monday as it came ashore in Cocodrie, La., as a Category 2 hurricane.

"We decided to leave because we went through Katrina. Couldn't take no more," said Connie Carter, a Gretna, La., resident who was staying at a Red Cross shelter in Austin.

It's too early to tell exactly how much rain will fall in places like Shreveport and Tyler, but "all look to be under the gun," said National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Roeseler.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said state officials will continue to watch the weather as Gustav spins west.

"This may not be over with yet because of the potential of a severe flooding up in northeast Texas," Perry said Monday. "But, again, we'll be ready for it."

Some Louisiana residents said they were moved to action by authorities who urged nearly everyone to leave the storm's path.

"They told us if we decided to stay, there would be no medical, no fire, no rescue," said David Smith, 19, who was staying in a Dallas shelter where he arrived with 30 relatives from Deridder, La. "You'll either live to tell about it or you'll die. They were pretty blunt."

Even if officials overstated the risk, Smith said, "they were right for saying it."

The evacuees included about 290,000 from Texas and others from Mississippi and Alabama, but the vast majority were from Louisiana.

Goldie Meunier, a 64-year-old widow whose home in Mandeville, La., was seriously damaged by Katrina, took shelter with eight relatives in a Pensacola, Fla., hotel. Staying behind would have been a mistake, she said.

"That's the silliest thing I have ever heard in my life," Meunier said. "Why do you stay there? You just put the worry on other people."

Gerard Broussard would have stayed in New Orleans for Gustav, as he did for Katrina, but his girlfriend and her relatives wanted to get out, so he drove them to Austin on Saturday.

"I was going to stay. I just had to get them out," said Broussard, who stayed in the city's Ninth Ward after Katrina for eight days before being taken out by helicopter.

"To me, the storm ain't nothing but rain, wind and water. I could care less about any storm."

Rick Meyer was waiting in Orange Beach, Ala., to see whether Gustav damaged his Slidell, La., home. He could not imagine staying behind, either.

"I didn't want to lose my life," he said.

But some who evacuated were irritated at having been forced from home.

Lisa Pratt, a construction contractor in Nederland, Texas, on the Gulf Coast, fled to a shelter in Austin. She worried about losing work time and money while waiting to return home.

"We owe bills," said Pratt, 48. "We was told to leave, and (I used) all the money I had. We're just wondering what the hell we're going to do now."

___Associated Press writers John Moreno Gonzales in Shreveport, La.; Michelle Roberts in Houston; Bill Kaczor in Pensacola, Fla.; Kelley Shannon in Austin, Texas; and Jay Reeves in Orange Beach, Ala., contributed to this report.