U.S. Postal Service operations in Austin suspended indefinitely since Feb. 16

The U.S. Postal Service has suspended all service indefinitely in Austin. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
The U.S. Postal Service has suspended all service indefinitely in Austin. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

The U.S. Postal Service has suspended all service indefinitely in Austin. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

The U.S. Post Office is famous for delivery in rain, sleet or snow, but not on unpaved roads covered in ice during a historic winter storm that has caused mass blackouts and water outages.

The U.S. Postal Service confirmed to Community Impact Newspaper on Feb. 18 that delivery service has been suspended indefinitely and has remained that way since Feb. 16. Feb. 15 was a holiday—Presidents Day—which means Austinites have not received regular mail since Feb. 13.

Becky Hernandez, spokesperson for the USPS Texas Rio Grande District, which includes Austin and parts of Central Texas, could not recall another time that the USPS has decided to suspend its service for the entire city of Austin and beyond. Even during the onset of the pandemic, Hernandez said the postal service did not suspend or interrupt service.

Drop-off facilities in Austin are also closed indefinitely, Hernandez said. She could not provide a timeline when operations would return to normal.

Hernandez said the reason for the suspension is because of the road hazards. Many roads in Austin remain under thick layers of ice from the historic winter storms that have ravaged the area since Feb. 15. The storms caused the state’s energy generation and distribution systems to fail, cutting power off to as many as 220,000 Austin Energy customers for multiple days in temperatures that remained well below freezing.

As of the afternoon of Feb. 18, nearly 43,000 Austin Energy customers still had no power, according to poweroutage.us, an independent tracker of power outages during disasters. Austin Energy, in a press release, said there is still no time estimate for “full restoration,” and outages would remain until the energy emergency has been resolved. Check here for Austin Energy's outage map.

“We apologize for any inconvenience customers may experience, but the safety of both customers and employees comes first,” a spokesperson for the USPS said in a Feb. 17 release.

Austin is forecasted to continue experiencing subfreezing temperatures through Feb. 18, with some reprieve coming Feb. 19 and through the weekend.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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