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Postal carriers can't escape dangerously cold weather

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 12:51 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Postal Carrier Mike Snyder, 57, endures the brutal cold temperatures during his morning route along Jacob Street in downtown Kittanning. Tuesday January 7, 2014
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Bill Rainey, 87, of Dayton, clears snow from his vehicle along Main Street in Dayton as the Marion Center Bank thermometer reads -3 degrees at 2 p.m. Tuesday January 7, 2014

Recent weather updates mentioning the polar-vortex system gripping much of the country often are followed with advice about staying indoors to avoid the negative affects of dangerously cold temperatures.

But for Kittanning postal carrier Mike Snyder, staying indoors in not an option.

He delivers mail from around East Market Street to the whole southern end of town, occasionally stopping to park the mail truck and looping through streets and alleys on foot.

“Everybody's real sympathetic right now,” Snyder said.

With negative wind chills and ambient temperatures hovering near zero for much of the day on Tuesday, Snyder said layering was crucial.

Two pairs of gloves with hand warmers helped block some of the bone-chilling cold from getting to his hands.

“You have to dress right and keep your face and hands covered. You can't expose anything when the wind is like this,” he said.

Kittanning Postmaster Rafe Magagnotti checked on Snyder and five other mail carriers, bringing them hot coffee and making sure their body temperatures were not being compromised by the cold.

Magagnotti said he talked with all the mail carriers on Monday about dressing for the inclement weather conditions.

“The safety of our carriers is our No. 1 concern,” he said.

Snyder, who has worked for the Postal Service for 25 years, said he doesn't remember temperatures being as cold as Tuesday's.

“We bundle our mail. You know it's a cold day when the rubber bands don't bounce back,” he said.

“This is why I love summer, right here,” he added, as a blast of arctic air swept along North Grant Avenue.

Temperatures are expected to reach close to 20 on Wednesday and grow warmer through the weekend.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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