GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The years have come and gone, but one thing remains the same in West Michigan weather: Bill Steffen.
Tuesday marks 45 years of Bill tracking West Michigan weather. He first appeared on air in the region on Nov. 5, 1974. Today, he’s Storm Team 8’s chief meteorologist.
His enduring passion for meteorology is an inspiration to his colleagues and his encyclopedic knowledge of regional weather history an invaluable resource for Storm Team 8.
Bill will tell you that his love of weather was evident by the time he was 8 years old, when he set up a little weather station in his backyard in northern Illinois and would call in snow totals to the local TV station. His first time on air was in April 1967, when gave a weathercast to test the cable TV in Winnetka, Illinois. He wore his Boy Scout uniform because he didn’t have a suit and tie.
He earned a degree in meteorologist from the University of Wisconsin in 1974. Later that same year, he came to Grand Rapids as a forecaster for WZZM.
He proved his mettle during the blizzard of 1978. Every other meteorologist was snowed in, so Bill did every weathercast, morning, noon and night, for 72 hours straight. He managed only a couple of hours of sleep during that period.
Bill joined WOOD TV8 in 2001. In 2008, he succeeded Craig James as chief meteorologist. In February 2013, he was honored with the Silver Circle Award for his years of service.
He still doesn’t shy away from long hours, often spending extra hours in the Storm Team 8 Tracking Center. He’s a popular feature of local parades and is always happy to chat with fans. He has even embraced the digital age: his well-known blog sees hundreds of thousands of page views each year.
“Bill spends countless hours studying and analyzing data to put together his forecast. It’s his mission to keep viewers in West Michigan fully informed and safe — whether it be on TV or on Bill’s Blog at woodtv.com,” WOOD TV8 News Director Dan Boers stated. “Congrats Bill on this big accomplishment and for your dedication to all of us who call West Michigan home.”
You can share your memories of and congratulations to Bill on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #Bill45.