Weather is a treat for Bacca

WOOD TV8 chief meteorologist appreciates solid team.
Ellen Bacca. Photo by Michelle Cuppy

Ellen Bacca was named WOOD TV8’s chief meteorologist in July 2021, heading up an esteemed crew of weathercasters.

Now, she’s been voted Best Female TV Personality in Grand Rapids.

GRM caught up with Bacca to see what makes weather so special to people in this area.

GRM: How did you get interested in the weather?

Bacca: When I was little, I was actually terrified of thunderstorms. I would watch the sky and the news like a hawk when a severe thunderstorm watch was issued.

One day, when the weather was looking particularly bad, I remember turning to my mom and saying, “I hope it’s not a bad one!”

She, in her mom wisdom, said, “I hope it’s a really big one! If it is big enough maybe the power will go out, and we will have to eat all of the ice cream out of the freezer!”

What a change in perspective! What kid doesn’t love ice cream?! Sure enough, the power went out, and we got our reward. From then on, my fear turned into a passion that I was lucky enough to follow through life.

GRM: What’s the best way to start learning more about the weather?

Bacca: Observation and information. Meteorology is an observational science. The more observations you have and can make, the more you learn. Watching Storm Team 8 every day — shameless plug — really will give you so much additional information about our weather here locally.

There is also a ton of great information on NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) sites. One of my favorites is one for kids called “Scijinks.” From there you can find excellent meteorological books and follow lead scientists from across the globe on social media, if you are looking for more.

GRM: What’s it like working with, and now leading, a team of iconic West Michigan meteorologists at WOOD?

Bacca: It honestly is incredible. Our team at WOOD TV is so good. What’s more, we actually all really like each other. It is so nice working with a team you trust, and you know has your back in every situation. We collaborate, we share, we work together. It makes going to work fun, and far less stressful. I have learned so much from each person on the team, from Bill (Steffen) to Terri (DeBoer) to Emily (Schuitema) to Matt (Kirkwood), and I know when I come to them with an idea or a project they each will help to make it better. I trust them completely, and I am so honored to lead the team in this next chapter.

GRM: What’s your favorite part about West Michigan?

Bacca: How can I choose?! OK, I have to say the hiking and the food! But to be honest, the people here are pretty dang incredible, too.

This story can be found in the January/February 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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