Category Archives: Weather

Tips for Summer Heat

summer heat tipsIt’s early in the season, and we haven’t hit the height of the summer heat yet, but it’s coming.  We look forward to the summer season, but sometimes forget that we also need to make sure we take care of ourselves and homes during this weather.  Here are some great tips to keep yourself and your home cool from the summer heat.

For You:

  • Be sure to keep sunblock handy and apply regularly
  • Wearing a hat can help avoid sunburn and heatstroke
  • Keep bottled water on you at all times when you are planning extended outdoor activities
  • Avoid midday sun, usually from noon to 2pm
  • Wear cotton fabric and light colors to keep you cool in the heat
  • Babies under 9 months should be kept out of direct sunlight
  • During hot summer days, head to your nearest lake or pond to take a dip and cool down

For Your Home:

  • Keep shades drawn during the day to keep out the heat
  • Open windows in the evening to allow cooler air in
  • Avoid using your stove/oven during the summer months.  Cook outside, it always taste better on the grill anyway.
  • Make sure your ceiling fans are running counter clockwise to circulate cooler air
  • Insulate your windows to keep warm air out and cool air from escaping

Summer is a great time of year that we all look forward to, just remember to follow these tips to stay safe and cool during the heat of the summer.  Enjoy!  Happy Summer!

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job




Outlook for Hurricane Season Below Normal

hurricane outlook

Source: NOAA

The NOAA Atlantic outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.

NOAA said the main driver of this year’s outlook is the anticipated development of El Niño this summer. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.

This is great news to hear for sure, after previous hurricane seasons.  But, never let your guard down, as we know anything is possible with weather.  It’s always better to be prepared than not prepared.

Even though hurricane season may be below normal this year, there is always chance for extreme weather during the spring and summer months. Whether it is the threat of severe thunderstorms, flooding or even tornadoes extreme weather is dangerous and you should always take the proper precautions to stay safe.  Here are some tips to make sure you’re always prepared for extreme weather conditions.

  • If you can hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm.  Go indoors
  • When indoors, never touch anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet
  • Keep away from outside windows and doors
  • In cases of flooding, leave areas subject to flooding and get to higher ground
  • Don’t go into a basement or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets
  • Have an emergency kit ready and make a family communication plan

Being prepared is the best defense to staying safe during extreme weather. Having the proper home insurance to protect your home is another way to be prepared for extreme weather.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


28 Days Till Spring

28 days till springIt’s been a pretty snowy winter for most of the country this year.  As New Englander’s we know this is can be the norm for New England winters.  That doesn’t mean we like it.   But, on the upside there is only 28 days left till Spring.  Many of us are thinking with all this snow, Spring can’t come fast enough.

We look forward to the warmer weather, flowers blooming, getting outside and cleaning up around our houses after the long, snowy winter. But until then we have to get through another month of winter.  So for those that do enjoy the winter months, there is still another month of sledding with the kids, hitting the trails with the snowmobile and skiing to mention a few.

In the meantime you have to keep a few things in mind regarding the maintenance of your home during the winter.  With the amount of heavy wet snow we received over the last few weeks, be sure to keep your roof clear of snow and remove snow/ice from your gutters to prevent damage to your home.

Also remember to keep a path clear to your oil spigot so your oil delivery can be made easily. Be sure to also keep your dryer vents cleared of snow, to avoid potential fires. As the warmer temperatures approach later this week, we also have the potential for flooding issues. Try to clear the snow around your home, at least 1-2 feet away from the home, to prevent melting snow from running into your basement.  Also make sure that drains around your home are clear from snow as well to allow for proper drainage as the snow melts.

These few preventative measures will help keep your home safe and avoid any future claims due to the winter weather. If by chance you do have a claim, remember to give us a call and we will assist with the process.

Just remember that, there is only 28 days left before Spring is officially here.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Winter Storm tips if you are stranded in your vehicle

stranded car in snowWith today’s storm approaching we thought we would share a few safety tips with you.  If you are ever caught in the middle of snow storm on the road, you know it can be a bit scary. If you find yourself stuck in your vehicle due to road conditions remember these safety tips.

  • Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
  • Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids to avoid dehydration, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs – the use of lights, heat, and radio – with supply.
  • Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.
  • If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.
  • Leave the car and proceed on foot – if necessary – once the blizzard passes.

We hope these winter weather tips will help you in the event you become stranded in the middle of a snowstorm.

Also remember to make sure you clear your vehicle off of all snow before heading out to travel to avoid any fines.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

source info:

What is this Polar Vortex they keep talking about?

polar vortexWe’ve been hearing about it in the news all week.  The Polar Vortex is what they are saying brought us those frigid below zero temperatures across the country earlier this week.  No doubt this is the coldest we’ve seen it in a very long time.



So what is a Polar Vortex?

Actually, the expression “polar vortex” can be found in a nineteenth-century periodical —Littell’s Living Age—in October 1853.  The scientific term also made the American Meteorological Society’s “Glossary of Meteorology” (1956).

The polar vortex resides over both poles year-round, but expands in the cold season as daylight all but vanishes around the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. Normally, it’s a stable gyre, but occasionally the winds surrounding the Arctic (arctic jet stream) slow down, allowing this huge mound of bitterly cold air to dip southward into the northern United States, northern Europe and northern Asia in the wintertime. Northerly winds propel frigid air far to the south—airstreams that would otherwise be more or less locked up in the Canadian Arctic and tundra regions of the world.

Polar vortices are weaker during summer and strongest during winter. Individual vortices can persist for more than a month. Extra tropical cyclones that occlude and migrate into higher latitudes create cold-core lows within the polar vortex. Volcanic eruptions in the tropics lead to a stronger polar vortex during the winter for as long as two years afterwards. The strength and position of the cyclone shapes the flow pattern across the hemisphere of its influence.

Fortunately, they say visitations of the polar vortex are relatively infrequent-once a decade or so they say. So hopefully we won’t have to deal with these types of temperatures in upcoming winters for a long time. Keep warm during these frigid temperatures.  By the weekend we will be looking at 50’s again.

Source info: Wikipedia and Weather Channel

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

Will bitter cold temperatures affect your vehicle?

cold temperatures and your carBitter cold temperatures can have negative effects on your vehicle.  Remember these tips to keep your car protected during winter months.

Windshields: Never use hot water to clear a frosted windshield, as you will crack. Some safe alternatives include: Frost Buster, Prestone Heat or ordinary rubbing alcohol.

Engine Block: your engine block is more vulnerable to cracking in freezing temperatures.  Make sure to use the correct coolant type and mix when topping up.  Never add plain water alone, as it will dilute the mixture and lessen freeze-up protection.

Heaters will delay engine warm-up: With newer autos provide interior heat almost immediately, but this causes a delay in the engine warm-up.  Waiting 20 minutes before turning on your heater might help save some gas, but who wants to get in a cold car.

Motor oil: Motor oil thickens when it’s cold.  This makes it harder for the engine turn over on the first start of the day. Thinner oil grades and engine block heater can aid in cold-weather starting.

Battery: An older battery is more likely to give you issues during the cold weather. Keep your battery clean.  A dirty batter runs hotter and will shorten the life.  If your batter terminals are corroded, clean them, if the corrosion has gotten to the battery cables replace them.  If you need to replace your battery keep this in mind: make sure the battery fits your vehicle properly and provides the proper cold cranking amps.  A higher quality battery will last longer.

Keeping these tips in mind can help prevent any major issues with your car over the winter months.  Remember for all your insurance needs, Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance is here to help you.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

Winter Solstice-December 21st

winter solsticeWinter Solstice – December 21st.

This is a great article from EarthSky on the Winter Solstice.

Late dawn. Early sunset. Short day. Long night. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere is having its longest day and shortest night.

What is a solstice? The earliest people on Earth knew that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset all shifted in a regular way throughout the year. They built monuments such as Stonehenge in England – or, for example, at Machu Picchu in Peru – to follow the sun’s yearly progress.

But we today see the solstice differently. We can picture it from the vantage point of space. Today, we know that the solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis, and its motion in orbit around the sun.

Because Earth doesn’t  orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. The tilt of the Earth – not our distance from the sun – is what causes winter and summer. At the December solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning most away from the sun for the year.

At the December solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the sun stays below the north pole horizon. As seen from 23-and-a-half degrees south of the equator, at the imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Capricorn, the sun shines directly overhead at noon. This is as far south as the sun ever gets. All locations south of the equator have day lengths greater than 12 hours at the December solstice. Meanwhile, all locations north of the equator have day lengths less than 12 hours.

Where should I look to see signs of the solstice in nature? Everywhere.

For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of daylight. After all, the sun is the ultimate source of all light and warmth on Earth.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you can notice the late dawns and early sunsets, and the low arc of the sun across the sky each day. You might notice how low the sun appears in the sky at local noon. And be sure to look at your noontime shadow. Around the time of the December solstice, it’s your longest noontime shadow of the year.

In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s opposite. Dawn comes early, and dusk comes late. The sun is high. It’s your shortest noontime shadow of the year.

Just remember the Winter Solstice marks the increase of longer days and more sun.

Happy Winter Solstice.