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Dennis Still Has An Impact

Residents of the North Carolina coast have learned that hurricanes can be expensive, even when they don't make a direct hit. CBS News' Jim Axelrod reports. On the North Carolina coast Tuesday night there are a lot of folks toasting their good news. Hurricane Dennis brushed past without making a dent, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

Then again, there's more than a few like Eva Cross, who has been selling groceries on Wrightsville Beach for 55 years. Even when the storms miss, she gets hit. The melted ice cream adds up.

How much did this visit of good news cost her? "I would say $10,000 a day," she says. "They cut power, we lose merchandiseÂ… being closed is expensive."

This hurricane that missed still managed to drain the entire $200,000 that New Hanover County budgets every year for these emergencies. Storms are expensive, even when they don't hit.

"You've got to mobilize personnel, you've got equipment, you've got things to rent, you've got supplies to bring in," says Mark Boyer of the county office.

This part of the Carolina coast has been struck by hurricanes three times in the last four summers. So even though they lost just under $3 million in tourist revenue, they've got the kind of perspective that stands strong through the storms.

"Everybody's just kind of jubilant," says Judith Grizzel of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We went and lost $2.8 million, but gosh, we're so happy about it. It could have been a whole lot more."

"It could have been worse" is the regional motto up and down the barrier islands of North Carolina.

"We hate to lose this merchandise, but we'll survive. If you lose a life or something like that, you can't replace it. But that ice cream and frozen food we can replace," Cross says.

That's a needed reminder, perhaps, when you've lost $10,000 in 24 hours -- from a storm that barely brushed by.