Is the postal service ready for the last minute holiday rush?

HOUSTON, Tex. (KBTX)- The United States Postal Service says it's been able to overcome big obstacles this year including storm damage to the nation's largest processing and distribution facility located in northeast Houston.

That facility is where all outgoing mail from most of the Brazos Valley is sent before it's delivered to its final destination.

News 3's Rusty Surette was given a tour of the building last week to see how USPS been able to recover after its brief shutdown in September due to damage from Tropical Storm Imelda.

"We are in full operations at this facility. Immediately after the incident occurred we started planning and making movement and shifting some of our operations to meet the needs of our customers," said Nikki Johnson, Strategic Communications Specialist for the Houston district, including Bryan-College Station.

"We expect all packages to be delivered on time for the holiday rush," said Johnson.

The deadline for First Class Mail is Friday, December 20. Priority Mail packages should be sent off by Saturday, December 21, and if you absolutely have to wait until the last minute, you can use Priority Mail Express but the deadline is the 23rd.

"The U.S. Postal Service is ready to deliver more than 28 million packages per day between December 16-21, and will average 20.5 million packages per day through the remainder of the year," said Johnson.

The Postal Service has also expanded its Sunday delivery operations in select high package volume locations.

Year-round there are an estimated 2000 employees at the processing center but an additional 700 seasonal workers are hired and trained to help make sure those last-minute deliveries are made on-time for Christmas.

Johnson suggested customers use USPS.com if possible to help save time.

"Almost 80% of transactions that our customers make at the post office can be done on our webpage," she said.

A few years ago the postal service began consolidating operations in a nationwide move that USPS says has saved the system billions of dollars.

Mail processing in Bryan-College Station was moved to the Houston facility and the postal service says there are no plans to reverse course on the way the mail is processed today.

If any customers have problems with deliveries, Johnson suggests customers either try tracking their package online or reaching out to a local postmaster or manager for assistance.

Click here to learn more on how to contact the postal service.

Another feature available is Informed Delivery by USPS. The feature allows homeowners to receive a daily digital preview of packages and mail scheduled to be delivered each day.

Click here to see a list of 'How To' videos for a variety of USPS services.