20110829 hurricane irene maryland
Tourists cast shadows on the closed Haunted House while walking along the usually crowded boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. - 

Steve Chiotakis: One of the hardest hit industries
was tourism as beach resorts up and down the seaboard took a significant hit.

It's an important time of year, as Bryan Russo from station WAMU reports.

Bryan Russo: Most coastal business owners call it the "100 days of summer." It's that time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, where seasonal businesses are trying to make enough money to last the year. With flooding, downed trees and blackouts from North Carolina to New Jersey, Hurricane Irene has pared back that time frame as countless businesses were abruptly shut down and millions evacuated.

Chuck Watson is with the research firm Kinetic Analysis.

Chuck Watson: There's only 12 to 15 high paying weekends a summer. We'll we've lost one for sure, and we'll probably lose Labor Day as well cause clean up will still be going on.

Damage estimates in the Carolinas alone range from 200 to 400 million dollars. As Irene approached, 200,000 people were forced to flee Ocean City, Md. on Friday. But in a fluke, the hurricane was much harder on resort towns to the north and south, and by Sunday, Ocean City was back open for business.

Denny King is the owner of King's Cotton Candy on the boardwalk.

Denny King: This are basically normal. There's not water in the streets and it looks to me like everything went as well as it could have.

King said crowds this Labor Day weekend could even be bigger than in years past as tourists rethink trips to areas still digging out from Irene.

In Ocean City, Maryland, I'm Bryan Russo for Marketplace.