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FedEx and UPS Warn That Winter Storm Elliott Could Disrupt Holiday Deliveries

A massive winter storm is bringing snow and freezing temperatures to much of the U.S. this week, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for holiday shoppers.

Both FedEx and UPS issued service advisories today, warning of possible disruptions in shipment deliveries due to winter storm Elliott, a potential “bomb cyclone” that could bring blizzard conditions to the Midwest, Northeast and East Coast.

In its statement, FedEx said delays could result from weather around its FedEx Express distribution hub cities of Indianapolis and Memphis. However, it added that not all services will be affected in the same manner. “There may be different levels of impact depending on city, state and ZIP code serviced,” the company advised.

For its part, UPS said, “Significant weather events across several regions of the U.S. are impacting the UPS Air and Ground network, including UPS hubs in Louisville, Kentucky and Rockford, Illinois. As a result, some delivery and pickup services in these areas will be affected.”

Both companies advised customers to utilize online tracking tools to get the most up-to-date information on pickups and deliveries.

Winter storm Elliott is causing headaches not only for online consumers but also for brick-and-mortar stores, which are the main destination for last-minute shoppers in the final days before Christmas. Frigid temperatures and heavy snow could prevent customers from getting out on the road and into stores at a crucial time for retail.

The National Retail Federation is predicting that holiday sales will grow this season, though at a slower rate than last year. Total sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 are expected to increase between 6% and 8%, compared to 2021, representing a total of between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion in sales, on top of last year’s record-breaking 13.5% growth to $889.3 billion.

This week’s winter storm already dumped 8 inches of snow on the Minneapolis-St. Paul area last night, and brought Denver 3-6 inches of snowfall. B​lizzard warnings have been issued for parts of the Northern Plains, upper Midwest and Great Lakes, and include Buffalo, N.Y.; Des Moines, Iowa; Grand Rapids, Mich., and Pierre, S.D.

According to the flight tracking website FlightAware, at least 2,155 flights into, out of or within the U.S. have been canceled today as of press time, and 6,041 flights have been delayed.

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