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.