This year, it almost feels like the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service should be changed to “neither hurricanes, floods, nor wildfires stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

With two months still left, 2017 has already been an historic year for weather events. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit in quick succession and with devastating ferocity. Right on their heels, Northern California battled deadly wildfires. And many of us have already forgotten about the “endless winter” that hit the west earlier in 2017 with snow still falling into June.

In past blogs, we’ve written about the challenges USPS faces with extreme weather events. Damage to Postal Service facilities and vehicles can make normal operations difficult. And, of course, the safety of employees and customers is paramount.

The Postal Service’s immediate priority after a storm or major weather event is ensuring the safety of its employees. After that, prompt delivery of mail and packages to affected areas becomes the focus. The resumption of mail delivery to a disaster-affected area is often a welcome event in recovery, especially when people are without power and phone service. Mail delivery allows for the exchange of information, not to mention relief checks and government services, and can even provide a small feeling of a “return to normalcy.”

We’ve noted in past reports that the Postal Service’s contingency planning for severe weather is quite good. No less noticed is the human response. Sometimes after a storm, a postal worker is the first direct contact a citizen has with another person.

Postal employees are often dealing with disasters in their own homes, yet show up faithfully for work. Just look at the many employees who were personally affected by the recent hurricanes and wildfires. Many of our OIG employees, in coordination with the Postal Service, have been a big part of these relief efforts, in particular in Puerto Rico.

Please share with us any personal experiences you have had with the Postal Service in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Comments (9)

  • anon

    I am wondering if a inservice is needed for some of your carriers,of the importance of the mail service they provide. In the last 3 years I have noticed a decline in our delivery. I have complained a couple of times to our local office. The reply is directed to direct the problem back to the costumer. I am talking about mail on the ground, due to no room because they stuff a box in so tightly there is no room for mail, order not pick up mail when the flag is up, or leave a pu slip instead of dropping at the business, wrong mail being delivered to us more frequent than ever before. Thank you for your time, just a suggestion.

    Mar 22, 2018
  • anon

    Dear Post Office Representative: I just wanted to voice a concern about our Postal Carrier not delivering our mail due to snow and ice. We reside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and yes, the weather is has been extremely cold and we have experienced several snow falls. We initially received a notice that we needed to clear the snow in order to receive our mail. I understand that the stressful job of mail carrying should not be made more difficult due to hazardous conditions. However, I shoveled and swept our front stairs as best I could--the temperature here has been below 20 degrees and periodically below 0--salted, but the mail was STILL not delivered. Yesterday it snowed ALL day, and of course, we once again, for the third day in a row, have not received our mail. And yet we are receiving packages, so the steps and walk are obviously not COMPLETELY non-navigable. Thanks so much for listening! All best, Kelly Monaghan Curran, Thornburg, PA

    Jan 17, 2018
  • anon

    I have to give the USPS a grade "F" for response after Hurricane Maria, especially the Kingshill, VI 00850 Post Office. They continued with reduced hours of service (10 AM - 3 PM) well after everyone had gone back to work and their own recovery. These reduced hours forced people to leave their workplace to pick up parcels during PO hours of operation. There was an increase in volume of parcels as supplies were mailed to customers, more people coming during the restricted hours, longer lines, limited parking. If hours had been extended to normal 8 AM - 5 PM it would have spread the customers over more hours and reduced wait times.

    Dec 04, 2017
  • anon

    I get mail delivered from other addresses all over Lebanon TN delivered to my address in error for 11 years now. I have complained politely for some 11 years now and NOTHING, YES, NOTHING has changed or been corrected. I always get a polite apology but I am still getting other persons mail and my mail is still in LIMBO! And two days ago I mailed a letter to my cousin in the Bronx which they promptly delivered back to my home address which was posted on the back of her letter....So, I will go in person back to the Post Office and ask them what in heavens they are doing with the mail....I would like them to remail this letter to the proper person, MY COUSIN IN THE BRONX....but it will probably be delivered back to my home again and I will probably have to PAY AGAIN!!! NOT FAIR!

    Nov 22, 2017
  • anon

    How long does it take to advise a particular postman that he is not to walk across my lawn? I have placed 3 complaints with the USPS & just yesterday (11-07-17) that is exactly what he did. I saw him & also have him on camera. He is the only postman who does not pick up my mail when there is nothing being delivered. I have NO problems w/the other carriers, they pick up when nothing is being delivered & because of this, they also have my permission to take a short cut across my lawn. The above mentioned carrier has lost his permission to walk across my lawn (whether he is delivering or not) since he does not pick up my mail when nothing is being delivered. My front door slot is approximately 10 ft. from the street & any outgoing mail is quite visible against my dark colored door. If I am placing a 1st class stamp on time sensitive mail, then I should be receiving 1st class service. Please don't tell me this is out of your jurisdiction since I have exhausted all means of correcting this situation. Your response is greatly appreciated,

    Nov 08, 2017
  • anon

    If we are to go back to milk delivery? All types of stuff. Your looking at ; trash service in a way more like beer truck trailer stations. Drop and pluck. You need not see me, if you wish. Night shifts. Sorry for any trail left behind. We're trying to compete in special needs and out do. Jimmy Johns. Freakenfast deliveries.

    Nov 19, 2017
  • anon

    I have shipped a package 2-day Express Mail on 10/26 it is now 11/01 and I have spent over 2 hours on hold trying to locate the package which is lost in OPA LOCKA FL. There is no accountability and shipping an item 2-day and then being told (after sitting on hold for 90 minutes) that is in route, you find out it was just shipped from a distribution center in Miami to OPA LOCKA FL. That is a classic bait and switch. Now the recipient is out of medication and all thanks to the "It's not our fault" attitude of the USPS.

    Nov 01, 2017
  • anon

    We are sorry about your lost package and the trouble you have gone through tracking it. Unfortunately, the OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and lost parcels fall outside of our jurisdiction. You may want to follow up your phone call and file an online complaint with Customer Service at

    Nov 03, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a package first class from zip code 60478 on October 25, 2017. It left Illinois the next day but has yet to reach its destination in Miami (November 8). Thankfully, it was not an emergency, but I find it very annoying that the tracking system still claims a delay. It didn't arrive in West Palm Beach until October 30. From there it took another 4 days to get to OPA Locka. It supposedly left there on the November 6. However, it still has not been delivered. When I pay for first class, I expect first-class service.

    Nov 08, 2017

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