Are Frenchmen Wimps? Oui!

A few days ago, I was feeling sorry for the French. Paris had been brought to a standstill by a snowstorm. Businesses were closed; transportation had ground to a halt; travelers were stranded; the Eiffel Tower was shut down. A familiar story. But then I read this:

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux asked drivers to leave their vehicles at home the day after 11 centimetres (more than four inches) of snow fell on Paris, the most since 1987.

Four inches?! Here in Minnesota, we refer to that as “snow flurries.” Four inches is a light dusting that we send our womenfolk out to shovel. For a great city to be brought to its knees by a mere four inches of snow bespeaks a lack of character.
On the other hand, what we have experienced in Minnesota today–well, to paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, this is a snowstorm. It began last night; we went for a walk around 11 and I took this picture of my youngest daughter on top of a snow pile that is much taller than she is:
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Snow fell hard, all night. The snow plows were out overnight, but this morning the snow overwhelmed all efforts to clear the roads, and the plows were called in. Which basically means no one was going anywhere. Bus service was suspended throughout the Twin Cities when one-third of the bus fleet was stuck in snow drifts. Snow fell all day, with howling winds driving the snow into drifts that were often–on my deck, for example–five feet high. In downtown Minneapolis, visibility was less than a block. By 4:00 this afternoon, as much as 20 inches had fallen in some Minneapolis suburbs. The New York Giants were en route to Minnesota for their game with the Vikings tomorrow, but their charter flight had to divert to Kansas City.
It has been, in short, an epic snow storm, one of the biggest in recent years. This is what my neighborhood looked like this afternoon:
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I took this one off my deck; as Wallace Stevens said, it was snowing and it was going to snow:
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Tonight the temperature is expected to get down to seven below, with a high tomorrow of four, followed by a low Sunday night of -13. That’s Fahrenheit, for our French friends. But by morning, the city will be functioning again. If the Parisians want to find out how it’s done, they should send a delegation to Minneapolis!

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