Europe: The Green Winter

A light frost dappled the fields of western France. In Scotland and Nor way it snowed. Along the normally frigid beaches of the North Sea, water temperature dipped to a bone-chilling 59°, five degrees below average, and vacancy signs begged forlornly from windows of usually crowded tourist houses and pensions. From Land's End to the Moscow River, from Scandinavia to northern Italy, the story was the same — Europe's coldest, wettest, dreariest summer of the 20th century.

A steady downpour sent affluent Swedes to airline offices for reservations to distant Rhodes, Majorca and the Canary Islands. Londoners, who hoard summer...

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