Power outages hamper mail delivery in northwest suburbs

June 22, 2011 3:33:48 PM PDT
Power was out for much of the day at several suburban post offices, as well as a big mail sorting facility in northwest suburban Palatine, after powerful storms ripped through the Chicago area Tuesday night.

As a result, mail delivery was a problem in some communities on Wednesday.

"The delivery continues. Even today we have post offices up in the 600 zipcode area where the power went out, but the carriers were still going to deliver their mail," said Sean Hargadon, postal service spokesperson.

Without electricity, the computers that run much of the Palatine facility were inoperable and workers had to slow most of the operation down to a crawl. With little light available inside the 650,000 square foot building, even the restrooms were dark. Portable toilets were set up in the parking lot. Still, the thousands of employees did what they could.

"The whole thing today is to keep the mail moving, so we put in contigency plans to get plants in Rockford, Carol Stream, one in Chicago and one in Milwaukee tol step up, step in and to help us get the mail processed," said Hargadon.

Power was restored at the facility around 4 p.m. Wednesday. Officials said the facility should be operating normally by Thursday.