Friday, December 10, 2010

Frostbite Bites Back

Today the French prime minister blamed Metéo France for…the weather. François Fillon declared that the French national meteorological service only predicted 3 centimeters of snow, and there were 11, and that is why the roads were a disaster on December 8 and 9 and millions of motorists were either stranded or stuck in traffic in the Paris area. In other words, it’s not the government’s fault. It’s not even God’s fault. It’s Metéo France’s fault.

In France, after a natural—usually meteorological—disaster like flooding, avalanches and heat waves, there is a period of concern and dismay when everyone gathers together in a united front against the slings and arrows of fate, and then…everyone blames the government. The government is held accountable for the weather. Why didn’t anyone predict what was going to happen? Why weren’t they prepared? Why weren’t they there to protect people?

My guess is that the government is sick of being the bad guy in these cases, and has decided to beat everyone to the punch and stick it on the weather service. Naturally, Metéo France countered with its own press release and frostily disputed Fillon’s claim. According to them, they predicted 3 to 10 centimeters of snow, and Fillon is quibbling over 1 centimeter. In fact, the region was on “Alert Orange” for snow since Tuesday.

I’m hoping this will make everyone think a little harder about improving mass transit in the suburbs. While everyone was stuck in their cars for hours on the road, the trains were running, more or less. Something to consider.


Franki Goodwin said...

Hello Margy
I've just found your blog. I am one half of "Mademoiselle London" - an art and poetry team who have just made a book about an English girl's boozy exploits in Paris. We're having a party tomorow night - wanna come?
Email me if so..

TN said...

3 cm or 11 cm doesn't really matter because that is NOT a lot of snow...Paris was just not prepared for snow bottom line. 4 inches of snow is nothing really. I have family in WI/MN and they got 20 inches (that is 51 cm!)of snow in one day! It was so much they had to close schools for days and the roof of the Metro Dome collapsed! Now that is REAL SNOW. In my opinion it is the gov't fault for not having enough snow plows etc...4 inches should not close down a city. Slow it down yes. Meteorologists are KNOWN to be's not an exact science. Are we going to blame them if it rains on our wedding day? NO. This is winter and it snows...they should have been ready period.

Margie Rynn said...

I finally saw a snowplow coming down our street the day the snow melted. Maybe the snowplows were stuck in the snow...I doubt there are many to begin with, which is part of the problem. By the way, it DID rain on my wedding day...and it was in August! Now there was something to complain about.