You’ve heard the old adage, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Well, while that goes to show the determination of the 300,000 plus fearless United States Postal Service (USPS) mail carriers, it doesn’t always reflect the full story of mail delivery.
Mail Delivery Disrupted
Mail delivery can be disrupted by a great many natural and not-so-natural causes. Take Hurricanes for instance. While mail carriers may be determined to show up and sort and deliver the mail, sometimes roads are closed or impassible due to high water and they aren’t able to make it to their designated Post Office.
Sometimes Post Offices are damaged by rising flood waters, a storm surge and even extra heavy rain that seeps into the building before it could drain away. When Post Offices are flooded, they need to be shut down and mail needs to be diverted to nearby postal facilities until the water has cleared and the Post Office can be used again.
What you might not know is that the USPS keeps an active list of all the Post Offices that are closed and the various reasons that cause them to be unable to sort or process mail.
USPS Service Page Alerts
Today, August 30, 2023, the USPS shows 50 Post Offices closed in the state of Florida for Hurricane Idalia, which has yet to make landfall. When Idalia comes to shore and pushes a storm surge towards the coast, we are likely to see even more Post Office closures.
Also, it’s not just current Post Office closures that show up on this page but also past ones. Consider this list of closures for Hurricane Ian on November 4 of 2022.
Keep in mind, it’s not just Hurricane’s that can disrupt mail delivery times. Any natural disaster, including fires, mudslides, tornados, floods, earthquakes and volcanos, to name just a few, can cause a Post Office to close and delay mail. Even non-weather events can close a Post Office. Here are a couple of post offices that were closed due to power outages.
Not all closures result in delayed mail. Sometimes our cherished mail pieces can be diverted to a nearby Post Office and mail carriers report for duty at this secondary facility and carry on with their work. However, just because the mail carrier can sort the mail, it doesn’t mean that the coast is clear for them to deliver mail to their entire mail route.
So, when you send USPS Certified Mail and follow the Certified Mail Receipts or tracking information, you might see odd delays and rerouting of the mail. Sometimes this is due to postal closures. First-Class Mail doesn’t have the same transparency in that tracking as it isn’t typically included in First-Class Mail service. But, you still may discover that a letter arrived a few days later than you anticipated. When wondering why, consider checking the USPS service alerts just to see what might be happening in that local area.
Given the number of storms and unforeseen circumstances that takes place around us, we have to give our local mail carriers a hand for working and doing their best, despite the weather, in order to get our mail delivered on time, every (or nearly every) time.