Europe Waiting Out the Big Chill

A winter blitz brings a brutal dose of death and disruption

Soviet tanks pulled stranded motorists out of six-foot snowdrifts along the Vienna-Budapest highway. Daredevil Parisians skied down the snow-blanketed steps of Montmartre's Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Big Ben's famous chime was reduced to a dull thud as its bell hammer froze. Packs of hungry wolves emerged from the mountains to roam through isolated Czechoslovak villages in search of food. Across Europe last week, wind-whipped masses of frigid Siberian air, often accompanied by heavy snowstorms, sent thermometers plunging to some of the lowest levels of the past quarter of a century, paralyzing transportation, closing schools, businesses and government offices, and causing more than 264...

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