USPS Is Suspending Services in These 5 States, Effective Immediately
The Postal Service continues to struggle even as the holiday rush ends.
The winter holidays are a hectic time for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), to say the least. But with Christmas now in the rearview mirror, you might assume that the worse of it is over. Depending on where you live, however, that may not be the case. Some people are still facing persistent postal problems, as the USPS has now suspended services in five different states. Read on to find out about the Postal Service's ongoing struggles.
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USPS is suspending services in several states.
The Postal Service strives to collect and deliver mail as promised, but when it can't do so, the agency uses its online Service Alerts tool to warn customers about operational obstacles. "Residential customers should check this Mail Service Disruptions website first for current, frequently-updated information about whether mail is being delivered to your neighborhood or if your local Post Office is open," the USPS says.
In the latest update, the Postal Service sent out several new alerts on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 to warn customers about disruptions in five different states: Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. According to the USPS, multiple post offices in each of these states are now temporarily closed to customers.
These post offices were all closed for the same reason.
The Postal Service's alerts for Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa all reference the same issue: weather
The agency confirmed to ABC Chicago 7 on Dec. 23 that a major winter storm hitting the U.S. is responsible for the facility shutdowns in all five states. According to the news outlet, the USPS said that a total of 89 post offices have been temporarily closed by the storm.
In Minnesota and Iowa, five post offices in each state have been "temporarily closed due to weather," according to the agency's alerts. This includes those in the cities of Belview, Easton, Kiester, Sacred Heart, and Vesta for Minnesota, and the cities of Elk Horn, Keystone, Lu Verne, South Amana, and Westphalia for Iowa. Nebraska, on the other hand, is facing six facility closures in the cities of Crookston, Harrisburg, Merriman, Purdue, Venango, and Wood Lake.
But North Dakota and South Dakota are experiencing the worst of it. There are 20 post office closures in North Dakota, including those in cities such as Dodge, Maddock, and Scranton, and 53 closures in South Dakota, which includes facilities in Draper, Roscoe, and Wounded Knee.
The USPS' most recent update on Dec. 27 did not identify any post office reopenings.
The Postal Service has warned that further suspensions could occur.
The USPS acknowledged that the winter storm disrupted some of its operations in the final delivery days before Christmas—particularly for these five states. But if bad weather returns down the line, further mail disruptions in other parts of the U.S. could pop up.
On Dec. 23, the agency told TV6 in Negaunee, Michigan, that it would suspend services in any area in the event of mandatory evacuation orders or road closures by local, state, or federal officials due to winter storms.
"The U.S. Postal Service monitors weather conditions daily to plan for potential impacts on delivery due to extreme conditions," the USPS told the news outlet in a statement. "Our letter carriers will make every effort to deliver their routes if they feel it is safe to do so. Their personal safety comes first."
The USPS says customers should clear out snow and ice to avoid service suspensions this winter.
This is not the first time the Postal Service has temporarily closed post offices in these states. As the result of a recent blizzard, the USPS had temporarily closed roughly 200 facilities and suspended deliveries in several cities throughout Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in mid-December.
"When weather conditions are so bad and the safety of our carriers are at risk, then, yes, we do cancel until weather permits," Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, a regional spokesperson for the Postal Service, told the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota on Dec. 14. According to Abdul-Razzaaq, regular service resumes as soon as possible, but there are things customers should be doing to make sure this happens in a timely manner.
In December news releases for Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, the Postal Service appealed for customer assistance in keeping "letter carriers safe as they deliver mail" this winter. The agency asked residents to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, stairs, and mailboxes—warning that it can and will suspend service from homes if streets and walkways are too hazardous for USPS workers, or if snow is piled against mailboxes.
"Snow and ice make delivery dangerous and slow," Tim Norman, who works for USPS Strategic Communications, told WGN 9 in Chicago on Dec. 23. "Maintaining a clear path to the mailbox—including steps, porches, walkways and street approaches—will help letter carriers maintain consistent delivery service, and help them get those letters and packages delivered on time."