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Winter weather turns last-minute Christmas gifts into New Year’s presents

In some parts of snow-buried America, last-minute Christmas gifts are turning into early New Year’s presents.

A massive winter storm that blasted much of the United States with brutal winter weather has forced shipping companies to ground planes, close package facilities and keep its trucks off the road. The dangerous storm, which led to at least 47 deaths nationwide, buried parts of western New York in up to 43 inches of snow. Thousands were without power during the Christmas weekend.

UPS said it had service outages in 898 zip codes across four states Monday, and FedEx continues to expect delays throughout the day.

In Michigan, New York, Indiana and Ohio, UPS said it would make no pickups or deliveries in the hundreds of postal codes it listed on its service alerts website. Although UPS said contingency plans are in place to help packages arrive as quickly as possible, the company warned service disruptions persisted.

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

FedEx continued to warn that “substantial disruptions” at its Memphis and Indianapolis hubs would delay shipments across the United States. Like UPS, FedEx said it had contingency plans in place to deliver packages in a timely manner. But the company said package delays would continue through Monday.

Amazon and the US Postal Service warned Friday that the winter storm disrupted operations in the final delivery days before Christmas.

The US Postal Service said that dozens of post offices were temporarily closed by the storm, mostly across South Dakota and North Dakota, and a few in Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. It asked that customers clear snow and ice from sidewalks, stairs, and mailboxes in order to help letter carrier make deliveries.

Amazon also said it was forced to close some facilities because of the storm. It said employees at the facilities would be paid for the canceled shifts.

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