The United States Postal Service is one of our country’s most reliable institutions. Whether in sunshine or blizzards, we always get our mail…that is, unless the weather outside gets to extremely dangerous temperatures. For the states that make up the American Midwest, that’s exactly what’s happening right now. For those of you who don’t know, the Midwest is currently experiencing the coldest weather on record in over 30 years, with wind-chill temperatures falling as low as -70 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts. The cold weather pummeling the Midwest is so bad that even USPS has temporarily suspended mail delivery to keep their workers safe. As a result, we’ll be seeing widespread delays for Postal Service deliveries across the Midwest.
Which States Has USPS Suspended Mail Delivery For?
As of this article being published, USPS has suspended mail delivery in parts of the following states throughout the upper Midwest:
- Nebraska (eastern parts)
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Disclaimer: As of this point, mail delivery is only suspended for Wednesday. We’ll keep updating this article if that changes.
Why Delayed Postal Service Deliveries Are a Problem
Delayed Postal Service deliveries are a problem for both USPS and their customers because of one simple word: guarantees. For example, popular USPS services such as Priority Mail Express guarantee speedy delivery, typically within an overnight or two-day timeframe (delivering to rural areas takes two days). USPS guarantees that if a Priority Mail Express package doesn’t arrive on time, then they will incur the shipping cost. Since postal workers aren’t going out due to the weather, lots of packages won’t arrive at their Midwest destinations until well after their scheduled delivery times. As a result, USPS will have to pony up for tons of package guarantees once the snow settles.
Will This Affect My Business?
If sending out and receiving packages is a part of your core operations, then unfortunately, your business will be affected. On top of temporarily suspending delivery, USPS won’t be picking up mail and packages from businesses, residences, or collection boxes.
Why Is It So Cold Out There?
The Polar Vortex has been disrupted! Oh, you’ve never heard of the Polar Vortex? That’s okay…we hadn’t either up until about two days ago. Think of the Polar Vortex like a “weather river” of sorts. This air current circles around the North Pole and keeps the cold air bottled inside the Arctic. Every once in a while, something happens to disturb the vortex. This leads to a chunk of cold air escaping and moving South towards the middle of the planet, causing crazy cold weather.
As for the explanation to why cold air from the Polar Vortex and made it down to the United States, global warming is an obvious answer. As our planet warms up, the atmosphere becomes more moist. This overabundance of moisture causes the climate to become more unstable, which leads to events such as the Polar Vortex breaking down. Don’t ask President Trump, though—he might might tell you otherwise.
Protect Yourself from Cold Weather—Stay Inside and Bundle Up!
In times like these, package delays and the suspension of mail delivery are a small issue in comparison to overall safety. To all our Midwest readers: do yourselves a favor and stay indoors! Exposing yourself to these extreme temperatures even for a few minutes can lead to frostbite—and no one wants that. If you have to go outside, keep the time out to a minimum. Also, make sure to wear the proper clothing. This cold front is expected to continue up until the end of the week, so in the meantime, read up on some tips for handling ridiculously cold weather.