You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ian's aftermath: What you need to know about sending mail, delivery, post offices

The News-Press (Fort Myers) 12/6/2022 Mark H. Bickel, Fort Myers News-Press

Among the long list of post-Hurricane Ian challenges for Southwest Florida, the process of sending mail and getting mail is near the top of that list for many.

The residents of the hardest hit areas like Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island and Pine Island continue to have to find alternative ways of sending and getting their mail, and even the post office in downtown Fort Myers remains closed because of storm surge and wind damage.

Ian’s impact: Passenger numbers in October lowest in two years at SWFL International

What's in a name: When it comes to retired hurricane names, the 'I's have it

The News-Press/Naples Daily News connected with David Walton, the U.S. Postal Service spokesperson based in Orlando, to get the latest information on all things mail for the region, including when the downtown Fort Myers post office is expected to reopen:

Change of Address

Q. Any numbers/stats you can share regarding Change of Address (COA) applications the USPS has received since the storm hit? Has that number been higher or lower than you expected?

A. We are currently tracking the hardest-hit parts of the area in which Ian struck.  At this time, we are monitoring COA requests in Bokeelia, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach, Pineland, Saint James City and Sanibel.  These communities, combined, have approximately 21,000 active deliveries. In the Postal Service, “active deliveries” represent a combination of street (residential/business) and Post Office Box deliveries. To date, approximately 38 percent of those have filed a change of address.

Fort Myers main post office on Monroe Street downtown sustained extensive damage after Caloosahatchee River flood waters overwhelmed the building during Hurricane Ira © Bill Smith/The News-Press Fort Myers main post office on Monroe Street downtown sustained extensive damage after Caloosahatchee River flood waters overwhelmed the building during Hurricane Ira

Mail delivery

Q. Is anyone in our hard hit areas getting mail delivered at this point?

A. We continue to make every effort to deliver mail to our customers where it is safe to do so. In places like Pine Island and Matlacha, most homes are receiving regular mail service. In other areas like Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Captiva, customers continue to pick up mail at the Fort Myers Processing & Distribution Center, located at 14090 Jetport Loop in Fort Myers.

Damaged post offices

Q. What is the status/progress report of post offices that had to close because of damage from Ian?

A. St. James City and Bokeelia resumed operations as did Placida. We anticipate the reopening of the Downtown Fort Myers Post Office in February. Here is the most current release with temporarily suspended Post Offices. CLICK HERE

USPS efforts to adapt

Q. What extra burden has had to be absorbed by USPS since Ian regarding mail in these hard hit places?

A. Our employees are dedicated and committed to providing the outstanding service our customers have come to expect and deserve from us throughout the year. When we experience inclement weather, such as a hurricane, we continue to maintain our focus on processing and delivering mail and packages to the best of our ability.

Important advice/tips

Q. Any message(s) you want to get out to residents/others regarding mail at this point post-Ian

A. If our letter carrier sees a mail receptacle and it is secure (the door is still on or it locks, if designed that way), they leave mail inside the box. If the box is damaged or missing, or if they can’t securely leave items, the mail is taken back to the Post Office and held for customer pickup. If your mailbox was damaged or is missing from Hurricane Ian, please have it replaced as soon as possible so regular mail delivery to your address can resume. We know how much our customers depend on their mail and the Postal Service is glad we can provide this service in a matter of days after something as devastating as a hurricane.  

How to file a COA

The Postal Service wants to ensure all customers receive mail and packages following impacts from Hurricane Ian, especially in areas where long-term recovery time is expected. Customers impacted by Hurricane Ian, who have not done so already, should take the critical step of filing for a Change of Address (COA) with USPS, to ensure they can receive uninterrupted and accurate mail delivery service. Filing a COA is easy. Customers can request a COA form from their letter carrier or visit their nearest available Post Office. COA requests can also be filed online at: https://moversguide.usps.com.  

How to contact USPS

Customers can also reach USPS through:

  • Customer Care Centers at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).  The hours of operation for the Care Centers are Monday – Friday 8 AM – 8:30 PM ET and Saturday 8 AM – 6 PM ET. 

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Ian's aftermath: What you need to know about sending mail, delivery, post offices

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon