Post Office catching up as weather allows
By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
The famous inscription over the entrance to a New York City post office, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is not an official policy of the U.S. Postal Service as much as a strong motivational statement.
The USPS does cancel deliveries in some weather conditions, as many Greenville residents learned last week.
Most mail carriers made it to work during last week’s snowstorm and sub-freezing weather, but that was about as far as many of them got, the head of Greenville’s U.S. Postal Service said Monday.
“It’s been a very anxious time for the post office because of the road conditions,” Greenville Postmaster William Loyd Jr. said. “The roads not being properly cleared hinders us to a great degree from being able to perform our duties. Where roads in a lot of neighborhoods are not clear, we can’t get into them to properly deliver (mail).”
Icy roads created dangerous conditions for route drivers and mail carriers, Loyd said.
“Vehicles encountered a lot of sliding and slipping on the ice and snow and some mail carriers on foot were slipping and falling,” he said.
Addresses where roads had been plowed and cleared of ice and snow were accessible to postal carriers, but those were mainly businesses along primary roads like Memorial Drive and Arlington Boulevard, Loyd said.
“We could hit the mailboxes that were alongside the road, but when you get into the suburbs and the neighborhood side roads, many were closed or inaccessible,” Loyd said.
The majority of postal employees reported to work between Thursday and Sunday, the four days affected by the weather conditions, Loyd said. The period during and after the snow storm set regional records for low temperatures, low high temperatures and consecutive days of both, according to National Weather Service meteorologists.
“Some of our people came in later than normal because of travel conditions, but the majority showed up for work,” Loyd said. “That’s what we do; we’re supposed to come in. The weather affected us both ways. It also hindered incoming delivery of mail to us from other locations.”
The postmaster said his concerns are not over yet, because melting snow and ice during daytime easily can refreeze overnight to challenge ice awaiting mail trucks in the early morning hours.
“Things are going much better today as we start to come out of this weather event,” Loyd said. “I think during the next day or two we should be back on course.”
Loyd said he did not get many calls from residents last week inquiring about their mail.
“A lot of people are understanding; some people are not,” he said. “Some people get aggravated, but we try to do the best we can. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience during this time.”
Contact Michael Abramowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9507.