HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) — Delivering flowers for Valentine's Day is hectic enough without a nor'easter bearing down on the region.
Add a foot or more of snow and it's a logistical nightmare, said Jennifer Barnasevitch at Smith Floral Co. in West Hazleton.
"We're trying to get out whatever we can today," she said Thursday, as the storm pelted the area with heavy snow.
At Smith's, they planned to deliver as many bouquets and arrangements as they could today, and encouraged people to pick them up as well, Barnasevitch said.
"We're hoping if it stops, that hopefully by late morning or afternoon, that people will be out and about," she said.
And Smith's plans to be open until 6 p.m. today, Barnasevitch said.
"We're here to serve our customers," she said.
Smilax Floral ... in Hazleton stopped deliveries during the storm Thursday and asked people to pick up their orders, said Barth Evans.
His mother, Jeanan, explained that they got out many deliveries ahead of the storm and asked customers if others could be sent today or Saturday, due to the weather.
Blossoms and Buds in McAdoo halted deliveries Thursday with the storm, but geared up for regular Valentine's Day deliveries today, said Tom Scarpati.
"We don't anticipate it being smooth," he said, adding that they, like other area florists, made some deliveries ahead of the storm.
At Stewart's Florist Shop in Hazleton, four-wheel-drive vehicles aided in deliveries Thursday, Paul Stewart said.
"We're still getting them out," he said Thursday morning. "The snow is slowing us down."
Stewart's also delivered ahead of the storm, he said.
"Most people want their deliveries Friday, so we'll be OK," Stewart said. "The roads will be clear."
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
While most folks associate that phrase with the U.S. Postal Service, it's not actually the postal service's official motto. The postal service doesn't have an official motto.
But the spirit of the maxim holds true for local postal carriers who deliver the mail no matter the weather.
"It's a little brutal today," Rick Frenya, delivery supervisor at the Hazleton Post Office, said early Thursday afternoon.
"But our employees are seasoned carriers, they know what they're doing. And this isn't the first snowstorm they've seen," Frenya said.
The volume of mail picked up a little in the days preceding today's Valentine Day holiday, Frenya said. But not to a degree that complicated delivery during the snowstorm.
The light number of pink and red envelopes passing through the post office could be because most guys plan to hand-deliver their greeting cards to their sweethearts, Frenya.
That's what Freeland Postmaster Billy Martin plans to do.
"I'm going to hand it to my wife," Martin said.
Snowstorms are rarely an issue for letter carriers in communities at high elevations, such as Hazleton and Freeland, where winter weather events are common.
"We're used to snow in Freeland. We're not having any major problems. We're getting the mail delivered," Martin said.
The most common weather-related delivery problem for local post offices is when events delay bulk mail shipments from across the state or across the country.
The postal service does not have its own fleet of air craft. It contracts with commercial airlines to ship mail inter-state. So if an ice storm in Atlanta cancels out-bound flights, or a snow storm in Pittsburgh delays air travel, bulk mail deliveries from those location to local processing facilities are postponed.
Sorted mail is shipped to Hazleton area post offices from a sorting facility in the Lehigh Valley.
"If there's a crash on a highway blocking traffic and a truck can't get through, the mail may not make it to our facilities," Martin said.
But once the bulk deliveries make it to local offices, the letter carries are getting it delivered.
"We're delivering," Martin said. "Pretty much everyone in our area is used to navigating in the snow," he said.
Even though local letter carriers will get the mail delivered no matter the weather, residents can help make the process a little easier by clearing snow from their sidewalks, steps and mailbox areas.
"We'll still deliver the mail even if they don't clear the sidewalks. It just makes things go smoother if they do," Martin said.
Information from: Standard-Speaker, http://www.standardspeaker.com