Approximately 46 million square feet of retail space is located in the Florida counties that were beaten and battered by hurricane Charley and tropical storm Bonnie this past week. Among public REITs, Miami-based Equity One has the highest exposure to the storm, with more than 21.1 percent of its total portfolio located in the counties that the Federal Emergency Management Administration has declared disaster areas. Regency Centers has about 9 percent of its portfolio and New Plan Excel, Kimco Realty and Chelsea Property Group each have about 5 percent of their portfolios located in these disaster areas. Private REIT Inland Real Estate Group of Companies also manages and owns properties in the disaster area.

But all these REITs are reporting minimum damages to their properties. Fallen trees, lost power, broken windows, torn roofs, knocked-down HVAC systems and fallen pylon signs constitute the worst of the damage reported so far. Equity One announced the company expects out-of-pocket costs related to the storm to be no greater than $250,000. Management at Regency Centers told Wachovia Securities analyst Jeffrey Donnelly that only five of their properties were damaged, and that all were back in business by August 16.

Retailers will likely bear the brunt of any damage not covered by landlords' insurance policies via incremental common area maintenance add-ons, Donnelly says. "More difficult to quantify is lost percentage rent due to closings, power outages, evacuations and cleanup," he adds. Luckily, the back-to-school season hasn't reached fever pitch yet and the impact of lost sales will be lighter than it could've been had the storm struck a week or so later than it did.