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How Your Business can Prepare for USPS Service Disruptions

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When mother nature strikes the United States with potentially deadly or life-threatening weather, the United States Postal Service will have no better option than to issue a USPS Service Alert. These alerts notify civilians and organizations that they should expect delays on delivery services due to the current weather outlook.

As millions of Americans on the east coast are evacuating their homes and businesses in order to prepare for the strongest storm in decades, category 4 Hurricane Florence, the USPS has issued the following Service Disruption alert…

Federal officials warn Hurricane Florence is the strongest storm in decades to threaten the Carolinas and surrounding regions. The hurricane, now a Category 4, is expected to make landfall Thursday night or Friday morning, bringing vicious winds, record rainfall and life-threatening storm surges. States of emergency have been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland.

As we monitor the storm, our top priority is the safety of our customers and employees. Many Post Offices in the projected path of the hurricane have suspended operations. Additionally, deliveries and other services in the region will be affected.

For information about impacts in your area, refer to the USPS Service Alerts below. Under “Residential customers,” click on “Service disruption alerts.”

via USPS

When the USPS officially declares that operations have been suspended and that deliveries and other services will be affected it could potentially have a huge negative impact on your organization. So how can your business prepare for USPS Service Disruptions?

Understand Natural Disaster Seasons

Weather forecasters within the United States have been studying natural disasters for hundreds of years and have begun to see in natural disasters. Each season brings forth an increased threat in specific geographical locations within the United States, allowing for forecasters to pinpoint specific “Natural Disaster Seasons”.

  • Tornado Season: March - July

  • Hurricane Season: June - November

  • Fire Season: October - January

  • Earthquake Season: January - December

    via EmergencyEssentials

Understanding these seasons is essential if your organization works within logistics, healthcare, merchandising, or uses any form of print statement and/or invoice. If you utilize the USPS in any aspect of your business, these natural disaster seasons should be memorized so that you can make the necessary preparations so that your bottom line isn’t impacted in case of emergency.

Stay Updated on The Latest Weather Forecasts

Outside of the unpredictable, some natural disasters take a long time to develop. Hurricanes in particular usually take days to develop fully. Additionally, they have to go through three different stages in order to be declared a hurricane to begin with…

  • Tropical Disturbance: A discrete tropical weather system of apparently organized convection - generally 120 to 400 miles in diameter. These originate in the tropics or subtropics, have a non-frontal migratory character, and maintain its identity for 24 hours or more.

  • Tropical Depression: A cyclone in the tropics where the maximum sustained wind speed is up to 38 mph. Tropical Depressions have a closed circulation

  • Tropical Storm: A cyclone in the tropics where maximum sustained surface wind speed ranges from 39 mph - 73 mph. The convection in tropical storms is more concentrated near the center with outer rainfall beginning to organize into distinct bands.

  • Hurricane: When winds in a tropical cyclone equal or exceed 74 mph, it is then declared a hurricane in the Atlantic and eastern or central Pacific Oceans. Hurricanes are further designated by categories. Hurricanes in the categories 3, 4, and 5 are known as Major or Intense Hurricanes.

    via NOAA

National weather stations usually begin their coverage on these types of storms when they reach the Tropical Depression stage. Although the weather is still not 100% predictable, forecasting has become tremendously more accurate due to technological advancement. Staying aware of natural disaster forecasting keeps your organization ahead of the curve, allowing you to make necessary precautions.

Reach Out to Vendors Who May be Impacted

To many organizations within the United States, the relationship with their biggest vendors is sacred. In an effort to maintain this relationship and better understand the potential impact a natural disaster may have on an organization, reach out to any vendors who may be impacted. Not only will they know exactly what may happen in a worst-case scenario, but they will also appreciate the gesture.

It’s not uncommon for vendors who are located in high natural disaster risk areas to have an emergency contingency plan in case they are impacted.

Take Necessary Precaution

There are certain geographical locations that are hit more so by natural disasters due to their climate and size. If your organization is located in the following areas you are more likely to be hit by natural disasters…

  1. Texas: 88 major disaster declarations since 1953

  2. California: 79 major disaster declarations since 1953

  3. Oklahoma: 75 major disaster declarations since 1953

  4. New York: 68 major disaster declarations since 1953

  5. Florida: 67 major disaster declarations since 1953

  6. Louisiana: 60 major disaster declarations since 1953

  7. Alabama: 58 major disaster declarations since 1953

  8. Arkansas: 58 major disaster declarations since 1953

  9. Kentucky: 56 major disaster declarations since 1953

  10. Missouri: 55 major disaster declarations since 1953

    via Bankrate

20% of states within the United States have declared a major disaster 55 times or more since 1953. Within each of the states listed above are hundreds of thousands of businesses, each of which needs to be vigilant and make necessary preparation in case a natural disaster occurs. If your organization is headquartered and any of the states above, you can plan ahead for natural disasters by visiting ready.gov.