By Don Teague Correspondent
NBC News
updated 8/16/2004 8:41:58 PM ET 2004-08-17T00:41:58

Third generation citrus grower Joe Huckeby should be visiting his granddaughter in the hospital. Instead he's clearing broken limbs from his ruined orange grove and tallying his losses — the entire $50,000 crop and almost all of his trees.

"Yes, it hurts. Three generations and this may wind it up. I may not be able to maintain an orange grove," says Huckeby.

Citrus is a $9 billion industry in Florida and Hurricane Charley tore right through the state's top producing counties. Officials are still surveying the damage, but the losses are substantial.

And the storm's economic impact goes far beyond broken trees. Just about everything else in the storm's path is also broken — infrastructure, vehicles, homes and businesses.

"You know, we've got to try to salvage what we can here, but we don't have the insurance to cover this whole mess," says Dave Brake of Brake's Dairy Queen.

Images like these do untold damage to Florida's $50 billion a year travel industry, which is already rushing a new ad campaign to attract tourists.

In the hurricane's path, small businesses from general stores and restaurants to beauty salons may be hardest hit.

"For small businesses, truly, it's the saddest thing, because it's very hard for them to get back on their feet," says Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.

But with adversity, Gallagher says, comes opportunity. It will take thousands of people and billions of dollars to rebuild storm-damaged areas.

"It will be a boom in business and opportunities like this community has never seen before," says Gallagher.

Even Joe Huckeby is focusing on the positive — his granddaughter in the hospital.

"I will be a great grandfather," he says.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments