Celebrating 20 years as Southeast Lower Michigan's Weather Historian - 42 years in the Making

It's been 20 years since I became known as the Southeast Lower Michigan Weather Historian. It began by my researching and writing about Southeast Lower Michigan's notable weather and climate events of the past, present and future. Also at the forefront; I developed my Seasonal Outlooks for Southeast Lower Michigan. While National Season Outlooks were available from CPC; I pursued the down-scale, local effects version over Southeast Lower Michigan by researching the macro-scale AND micro-scale.. Few, if any of NWS WFO offices at the time, issued a down-scaled local effect forecast outlook. After many promising results and positive responses: Season Outlooks for Southeast Lower Michigan were born and continued through my employment and into my retirement with the very satisfying challenge.

Back in 1996; I was encouraged and supported by my immediate supervisors at the time, to go with my strong interest, education and wide experience in the NWS to pursue my "natural place" with the NWS in Southeast Lower Michigan. Growing up and through the NWS, I worked numerous positions at one time or another dealing with weather, climate and forecasting. I enjoyed a broad experience which only increased my knowledge and excitement for the love of my career. Whether it be: Surface Observations, Pilot Briefing, Radar Meteorology and Warnings, Forecasting - short and long term products, Great Lake and Nearshore forecasts all while developing media relations for the NWS and myself going back into the mid 1970s. Also in the mid 70s, while working full time, I attended Eastern Michigan University full time and later, went on to University of Michigan to complete needed courses. While employed, I took countless in-house NWS courses applicable to meteorology and climate along with NWS courses at the NWSTC in Kansas City. Meteorology continues to be an ever-changing and educational endeavor for me and I try to keep abreast of the latest research, theories and ideas.

Some of my earliest weather media briefings for the local weather talent included some well known celebrities of the past and present; Marshal Wells /WJR/, Sonny Eliot, Jerry Hodak, Marilyn Turner, Rob Cress, Don Paul, Chuck Gaidica, Paul Gross and Chris Edwards to name just a handful. As I further branched out in my career, I assumed numerous focal point positions at different offices; Climate, Severe Weather and Spotter Network, Forecaster, NOAA Weather Radio, Data Acquisition all while continuing to serve as a media liaison.

Another big plus for which I'm utterly grateful, is that that my long career spanned over 37 years in the same region - Southeast Lower Michigan - a rare feat in the NWS. Most employees in the NWS to this day,  transfer cross-country for advancement. My NWS career was entirely in Southeast Lower Michigan, starting at the NWS WSFO Detroit then on to the Ann Arbor office, back to the newly created WSO Detroit and lastly in the mid 90s, the WFO at White Lake. This long term employment locally gave me a real opportunity to learn and subsequently get a feel for the weather. The seeds were actually planted way back in the stone-age during my childhood (I was around 7 or so) , growing up in northwest Detroit from the mid 1950s and and on. Ironically of sorts, I wrote Jerry Hodak a letter while in 7th grade /1967/ while he was at CBS Channel-2 and asked him what studies I needed for meteorology - his reply, "at your young age math and science". Later of course, after employed with the NWS, we occasionally chatted about the latest weather and did interviews together.

My official career began in 1974 with the NWS /42 years ago/ however, I did work the summer before /1973/ as an office helper with the MIC at the WSFO DTW and all the HMTS/METS on duty at the DTW office. I was indeed, the veritable kid in the candy store! The MIC at that time of whom I'm eternally grateful for recognizing my passion for meteorology was C R Snider. As far as I know, he is still alive and is well into his 90s (he attended my retirement 5 1/2 years along with some of the earliest of days employees from WSFO Detroit). I worked with hundreds of talented, very smart  individuals who shared my passion for meteorology and climate from my earliest days to my retirement. Some of them remain friends to this day via Facebook or otherwise. One thing I quickly learned was you can learn something from just about everyone you work with - from the highest up position on down. Some of my most rewarding learning and working experiences were with fellow personnel that could be of  "quite the character" - some I'm sure, would say the same of me!
Probably the single most valuable thing I learned through my experience with meteorology and forecasting is plain and simple; sometimes you'll be right, sometimes wrong and the job has no room for false egos. If you develop a bit of an ego (and you will), Mother Nature will soon come along enough and shut it down - but then again, that's the process of learning. Anyone that brags "they are always right" in this business, aren't in the right business as they don't or won't learn. Many times; I've discussed what went right and what went wrong with Outlooks and other forecasting products and more importantly, try to look for reasons WHY. While you certainly can develop a "feel" for the weather in your area, look out 'cause those feelings will be hurt.

Finally: I'm writing this blog to give my readers a much broader idea of my entire background on my 20th anniversary - 42 years in the making.

Making weather fun while we all learn,
Bill Deedler - SEMI_WeatherHistorian

Next up, by mid November - The Winter Outlook 2016-17


  1. Congrats Bill! Been forecasting/broadcasting for 30+ years myself, also a SE Michigan lifer. I always enjoy reading your perspectives and outlooks.