"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"

Many Americans consider that phrase to be the motto of the U.S. Postal Service, showing the dedication of not only carriers, but the entire postal network to operate during the worst of weather disruptions. Though the Postal Service actually has no motto (those words are chiseled into the entrance over the Farley Post Office in New York City), it strives to be prepared to function during any type of extreme weather.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, which tracks weather events in the U.S., noted that 2016 was an unusually active year, with 15 weather and climate events that each incurred damages of over $1 billion. Last year the Postal Service’s Southern Area was hit particularly hard by severe storms, with two hurricanes – Hermine and Matthew -- coming onshore, as well as two land-based storms that produced flooding and other devastation on a scale greater than most hurricanes.

Considering the Postal Service operates one of the largest vehicle fleets in the U.S., with over 218,000 delivery vehicles and has more than 35,000 retail units, extreme weather events can pose many challenges. One severe storm has the potential to delay millions of mailpieces, damage delivery vehicles, and close facilities. In 2015, USPS deployed an updated integrated Emergency Management Plan to help management prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards.

Our audit team recently released a report evaluating how effective the Southern Area was during the 2016 weather emergencies, in particular actions to safeguard the mail and protect delivery vehicles. We found the Postal Service was well prepared for the weather events: using comprehensive emergency plans; monitoring weather; providing guidance to local postal management; and restoring operations. As a result, damage to vehicles and mail was minimized.

While nothing beats Mother Nature, it’s good to have a plan. And it seems the Postal Service has one on how to prepare for and recover from any weather emergency.

How do you think USPS has performed during severe weather events in your area?

Comments (4)

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  • anon

    I live in area code 34746 and have not been able to receive mail since the hurricane. I live in the Images Condo Community and the storm destroyed the community mail box which has not been replaced. I cannot find out who to contact as the post office listed for 34746 is not a facility for customers to enter. Phones #s are automated and there is at least an hour wait to speak to a person.

    Oct 16, 2017
  • anon

    Just so you know, I worked for the USPS YEARS AGO, so I know how things work at the "boots on the ground level". Being a Federal agency, they have ZERO incentive to be efficient, caring, or responsive to the public. People there just dont give a hoot about being "better, faster, cheaper". They are interested in getting to the end of the day with a clean sort table- that's all. If a letter or package is misdirected - they dont give damn. Example: box leaving South Asheville addressed to east Tennessee 85 miles north up interstate 26. They haul it 65 miles SOUTH to South Carolina, then direct it EAST to Charlotte NC. All this takes 4 days ! How Stupid is that? Our Government at work ! Just idiotic.

    Jul 01, 2017
  • anon

    OIG should pat yourselves on the back for this report....Just a few sidebars for it. I wish you had included your after action report on hurricane Sandy as a prior audit. Without your scathing indictment of management actions and inactions prior, during and after Sandy there would never have been the impetus to develop the new action plans. You shamed management into action. I wish you had also investigated the human side of the management plan. Where employees safety and the safety of their families also involved in the planning and actions taken along with the sanctity of the mail. The Sandy report showed where employees were required to continue delivery even after Mandatory evacuations were posted by local authorities. There is the story of a homeowner finally allowed back in. The important letter they were waiting for had been delivered to their mailbox during the evacuation. Their house was gone and so was their mailbox. Did management learn its lesson on this side of the emergency response program?

    Jun 28, 2017
  • anon

    MERRICK BANK P.O. BOX 660702 DALLAS TEXAS 75266-0800 HAS TOTALLY ! LOST 2 OF MY CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS IN THE LAS 6 MONTHS. THEIR EXCUSE IS ,THEY HAVE A HIGH VOLUME OF MAIL OR IT IS THE WEATHER!!! THEY SAY THEY HAVE TAKEN A FORMAL COMPLAINT FROM ME AND IT WILL TAKE A FEW MORE DAYS TO COMPLETE THEIR INVESTIGATION! I AM SORRY BUT I DON'T BELIEVE ONE WORD THEY SAY! I THINKS SOMEONE IS STEALING THOSE PAYMENTS RIGHT OUT OF THE ENVELOPES. I HAVE NO TRACKING NUMBERS. IT WAS MAILERD THE ORDINARY WAY HIGHLY TICKED OFF IN KENTUCKY!!!

    Jun 27, 2017

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  • 9 hours 43 min ago
    Thanks for your comments, which often inform our work. We appreciate your ideas and insights on this important topic. Please also note that general delivery/service issues should be addressed...
  • 11 hours 50 min ago
    What is up with Atlanta? Perhaps the 8PM and later deliveries are making it difficult to read the addressing? Three days out of five last week I received other people's mail. There was no...

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