The first hurricane of the season has arrived and with gusto. Hurricane Arthur is expected to brush the North Carolina coast later tonight or very early tomorrow morning. The latest advisory and tracking information can be obtained on the National Hurricane Center’s web site. And I must say for the first one of the season, it is an impressive looking storm.

Currently with winds of 90 Mph, Arthur’s a strong Category 1 storm that is expected to further strengthen to a Category 2 storm with winds over 100 mph. Not all that strong by most standards but still dangerous.

One thing I’ve noticed in the past 15 or so years has not been the strength of the storms in wind speed but the size in the area covered and the wind field. The last compact storm I remember was Hurricane Andrew which devasted South Miami and Miami in 1992. It was a Category 5 storm that decimated South Miami but was small in area covered. Living in central Florida at the time, we had no effects from the storm whatsoever. Yet even though I was in Central Florida in 2005 when Katrina was in the Gulf, we had rain bands from the storm and it covered almost the entire Gulf of Mexico.

I lived in Florida from 1964 until I retired in 2012 and I remember going through many Hurricanes, from small ones to big ones like Cleo and Betsy, but none of them affected such a large area. And this is the one major change I have seen.

We may or may not have more hurricanes and they may or may not have stronger winds, but hurricanes are noticeably larger in area and affect more people. Even if a hurricane or tropical storm does not pass over or even near your area, the rain bands can -and often do- spawn small tornadoes that can be very damaging. And now we have even more people living on the coastal areas and being at risk.