Freezing Mail: Recent cold weather is adding to the Postal Service’s delivery woes

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A barrage of deadly storms that have halted mail delivery across the United States is the latest havoc to wreak havoc on the U.S. Postal Service amid complaints in multiple states of chronic delays.

Local news agencies in yeah, Kansas And Tennessee The US Postal Service reported weather-related delays in last week’s storms. And USPS isn’t the only delivery service having problems. FedEx said this week that hundreds of towns in six states were without FedEx deliveries due to the storms.

A delivery delay due to January’s winter weather chaos is the latest in a series of mail problems across the country. Lawmakers from Washington state to Texas have expressed concerns in recent months about chronic mail delays, including a facility in the Houston area where U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, told USA TODAY that a local resident’s $1,600 wedding dress He has disappeared into a Postal Service facility under recent scrutiny.

The grievances are growing USPS reported a net income loss of $6.5 billion In fiscal year 2023. Postal Service spokesman Jim McCain blamed the decline on inflation and Civil Service Retirement System costs.

The Postal Service announced a 10-year plan in 2021 to improve the debt-laden company’s finances. She planned to rebuild her financial capacity through Slow delivery, higher prices, and improved operations. The service maintains that it generally provides the service promptly, with reference to Average delivery It takes less than three days.

Winter weather slows interstate mail deliveries

January’s brutal storms, which left hundreds of thousands of homes without power, dropped several inches of rain and snow across the United States, and were responsible for at least 55 deaths, led to a surge in mail deliveries across the country. FedEx said winter storms continued to impact… Company deliveries on Wednesday.

The Postal Service also warned residents The National Weather Service warned that dangerous weather could cause a delay in issuing the warning on Wednesday, with continued heavy rain and the threat of flash flooding across the lower Mississippi Valley, Southern Plains, Southeast and Gulf Coast. Service said Last week, it issued statements in several states asking residents to remove snow and ice from sidewalks and around mailboxes.

McCain said deliveries may continue to be affected through January as storms persist in some areas.

A Texas candle shop owner is frustrated with delivery delays

Shannon Wilbetz, co-founder of Texas-based Upper Room Candle Co., said she had “completely lost confidence” in the Postal Service after a turbulent month of delivery delays.

Wilpitz said about 10 packages were delayed for more than a week, including an order from a Spring, Texas, customer who traveled to Dallas, Houston and out of state to Atlanta, according to the online tracker. Wilbetz said she dropped off the order as priority mail at the post office on Jan. 9, and it was not delivered two weeks later.

Wilpitz said many of the backorders online came from first-time customers as her business grew.

“They’re the ones I’m worried about,” Wilbetz said. “They don’t know if this is how we do business.”

Frustrated with the US Postal Service, Wilbetz said she switched to United Parcel Service, or UPS, this week and doesn’t expect to return.

“You don’t want to burn your bridges,” Wilbetz said. “Because we are a very small company, every customer is important.”

Chaos at the Houston-area post office is causing widespread concern

Green, the U.S. representative in Texas, said he has received nearly 100 calls from people freaking out about USPS delays. He told USA TODAY that the cases he’s seen largely boil down to one office — Missouri City Center about 20 miles southwest of Houston.

Green said he is seeking a tour of the facility and urged the Postal Service to open a customer service line for the Missouri City branch to address concerns. A wedding dress and multiple other packages appeared to arrive at the Missouri City Post Office according to online tracking updates, but then “got lost in an inexplicable way,” he said.

The wedding dress that appeared to have arrived at the Missouri City branch was never found, and the woman had to buy another dress for her ceremony, Green said.

“I’m not going to claim this was stolen, but I think it’s an unusual circumstance,” Green told USA TODAY.

The congressman said he hopes to resolve the issue before the March primary to prevent problems with mail-in ballots.

“It would be a shame if the election were put in questionable circumstances because the Postal Service did not deliver the mail in a timely and appropriate manner,” Green said.

He added that he still supports the USPS, and blamed the recent chaos on politics and management.

“The Postal Service cannot be a closed society. It has to be transparent,” Green said.

McCain told USA TODAY that the Postal Service has added staff and implemented new processes to address “the root causes of sporadic problems” with mail delivery in the Houston area.

“We want customers to know that we continue to expand our operations in the Houston area due to increased volume and are adding additional capacity with a new facility to improve service,” McCain said.

He added that Houston was affected by recent storms.

“We extend our apologies to those who experienced a deviation from our normal, reliable service, and customers should already see improvements in delivery as we work to resolve these issues,” McCain said.

Lawmakers across states are raising their concerns to the USPS

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-VA, said: In December, it received more than 1,300 complaints about mail delays. WTVR-TV reported last week that the second Asked Virginia’s elected officials USPS was denied a town hall to address concerns about mail theft and chronic delays.

McCain told USA TODAY that most packages in the Richmond area were arriving on time, but recent staffing issues where the regular carrier was out of service for an extended period caused “scattered” deliveries on some routes. The Postal Service used alternative carriers and seasonal employees, pulled employees from other offices to fill gaps in the area and moved some mail processing from the Richmond facility to other branches, he said.

McCain added the Postal Service Launched an initiative last year to tackle postal crime across the country, including the installation of high-security blue collection boxes and law enforcement partnerships.

In Washington state, U.S. Reps. Susan DelBene and Rick Larsen, both Democrats from Western Australia, sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about “ongoing mail delays” during the December holiday season. Delbin said She added that lawmakers previously wrote to DeJoy in July about widespread delays in the district.

Last month, U.S. Senators from Minnesota Legislation introduced Aiming to improve USPS delivery tracking and accountability after complaints of mail delays across the state. US Representative Angie Craig, Democrat of Minnesota, Submit the bill In the House of Representatives in October.

Total mail and package volume fell about 9% in one year, according to the Postal Service 2023 Report to Congress The Postal Service has not collected enough revenue to cover its expenses and debt for more than 15 years.

USPS stamp prices rise: First-class Forever stamps now cost 68 cents

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mail delay in winter storm highlights nation’s problems with postal service

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