Bill Steffen tearfully marks 42 years on West Michigan TV

Bill Steffen circa 1974 and in 2014.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen is celebrating 42 years on West Michigan television.

He first appeared on air in the region on Nov. 5, 1974.

Bill’s love of weather started at the ripe age of 8. With a weather station in his backyard in northern Illinois, Bill would measure snow totals and call them into the local TV station. In April 1967, he did his first on-air weather report while testing the cable TV in Winnetka, Ill. He wore his Boy Scout uniform because he didn’t have a suit and tie.

Bill got his degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin in 1974, and later that year got a job here in West Michigan.

At the time, grease pencils and map boards were the high-tech means of weather illustration, and weather satellite for TV didn’t exist.

>>Photos: Bill Steffen through the years

Bill’s passion for meteorology is obvious as he constantly tends to his popular weather blog.

He also never strays far from the Storm Team 8 weather center, working long hours to track storm systems.

During the blizzard of 1978, Bill distinguished himself with a marathon shift as the area was blanketed in 15 inches of snow in 15 hours. With the other meteorologists snowed in, Bill was left to do every weathercast — morning, noon and night — for 72 hours straight, catching only a couple hours of sleep.

In February 2013, Bill was honored with the Silver Circle Award for his years of service.