While it might be nice to think that nothing—not even snow, rain, heat, or gloom—could stop the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from getting our mail to us, this is simply not the case. The agency says it works hard to keep delivery operations running regularly and post offices open during normal hours, but unfortunately, that's not always possible: The USPS has had to suspend services for a number of reasons in recent months, from animal attacks to facility fires. Now, the agency is again adjusting its operations in more areas for different reasons. Read on to find out about the latest closures.
READ THIS NEXT: USPS Is Making Even More Changes to Your Mail, Starting Jan. 22.
The agency is suspending services in multiple areas right now.
The most recent update on service disruptions in the U.S. came from the USPS on Jan. 13, when the agency alerted customers in two different states about suspensions.
According to the Postal Service, certain facilities in both Alabama and California are now closed. In Alabama, the agency said that "all operations are temporarily suspended" at the Jack Post Office. Customers are being directed to use retail and PO Box services at the post office in Elba, which is about 12 miles away.
In California, several facilities were recently shuttered. On Jan. 12, the USPS said that post offices were "currently closed" in the following seven cities: Bridgeville, Planada, Lee Vining, June Lake, Bridgeport, El Nido, and Salinas-Spreckels.
Just a day later, the agency revealed that three of these facilities had reopened, while a new post office had closed. According to the Postal Service, a post office in San Ardo, California, is now closed, while the Lee Vining Post Office, the Bridgeport Post Office, and the El Nido Post Office are back open.
The California post offices are dealing with winter storms.
Now, there are a total of five facilities closed throughout California: the Bridgeville Post Office, Planada Post Office, June Lake Post Office, the Salinas-Spreckels Post Office, and the San Ardo Post Office.
All of the affected facilities are located in Northern California, near more populous cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Fresno. Recent weather seems to be at fault: On Jan. 14, President Joe Biden declared a "major disaster" in California, as a result of severe storms causing flooding, landslides, and mudslides in the state.
The USPS just cited "winter storms" for the Bridgeville, June Lake, and Salinas-Spreckels post office closures. But the agency directly called out flooding as the reason for the Planada and San Ardo closures.
In a separate Jan. 13 local news release, the Postal Service further elaborated on the situation in Planada. "Mandatory evacuations and severe weather conditions has necessitated the temporary closure of the Planada Post Office," the agency explained, adding that customers can pick up their mail at the Bell Station facility in Merced, California, instead. "We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and normal retail and delivery operations will resume once access is restored."
The Alabama Post Office was also hit by a natural disaster.
Severe weather is also behind the postal problem in Alabama. In a separate local news release posted Jan. 13, the Postal Service revealed that the post office in Jack is also recovering from a natural disaster. The facility "sustained structural damage due to recent tornadic activity," the agency explained.
A tornado hit Alabama on Jan. 12, born out of a storm system traveling across the South, the Associated Press reported. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the "large and extremely dangerous tornado" caused significant damage in part of the state, as it "shredded the walls of homes, toppled roofs and uprooted trees in Selma, Alabama," according to the news outlet.
As a result, the USPS has temporarily suspended operations at the Jack Post Office. "The U.S. Postal Service's priority is the safety and well-being of its employees and customers," the agency said. "Postal officials will provide an update to customers once a thorough assessment has been completed."
The USPS has been forced to make other recent closures due to weather.
The Postal Service can adjust its operations for a number of reasons, but weather is often a major contributing factor—especially recently.
Throughout December and January, the agency temporarily closed hundreds of facilities and suspended delivery services in states like California, Nevada, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa, during severe winter storms.
"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.
On Jan. 4, the agency also released a local news alert in Minnesota, asking customers to help clear snow and ice from walkways, driveways, porches, and areas around the mailbox amid heavy snow and hazardous conditions. "Slips, trips and falls continue to be the most frequent type of injury sustained by our carriers," Minnesota-North Dakota District Manager Anthony Williams said in a statement. "As winter conditions worsen, so do the number of accidents. By simply clearing the way, customers help reduce the risk."