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Holiday Deliveries Kept on Track by ... Weather Nerds?

Corporate meteorologists are 'secret weapon' during high shipping season
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 2:19 PM CST

(Newser) – Santa had Rudolph's red nose to get him through the winter storm so he could deliver our holiday packages; we have corporate meteorologists. They're what the Washington Post calls "the secret weapon" of shipping companies trying to cash in during the hectic holiday season: "a motley crew of Air Force veterans, experienced forecasters, and part-time storm chasers, many of them weather nerds" hired by companies like FedEx and UPS to ensure holiday shipments make it to their destinations, no matter the forecast. Their jobs include everything from organizing de-icing and refueling crews for planes that carry the packages to studying satellite and radar monitors for alternate routes for planes encountering foul weather.

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During last year's woeful winter, UPS missed many deliveries because it was inundated with orders, and FedEx lost $125 million in anticipated profits, the Post notes. These companies even have what sounds like something out of a Russian spy movie: reinforcement jets that can fly down to retrieve stranded packages with little notice—an endeavor that UPS says "rescues" 1 million packages for the company per year. "Someone awaiting a package in Bangkok doesn’t care if it snowed in Louisville, Kentucky," a senior meteorologist for UPS tells the Post. “They want their stuff.” (Read more holiday season stories.)

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