MondayJuly 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Sorry I checked out Sunday evening as the showers and storms came in. It was kind of a last minute thing, but my 94-year-old mother is up here from Illinois. My daughter 1 was also up to teach a WERQ group at East Hills Athletic Club and brought my mother along. Daughter 3 was down from Traverse City for the concert of their guest musician from France, Melodie. She has been at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. I took her delightful family (including the kids of the chef for Steve Jobs) thru WOOD-TV. We watched (what turned out to be a 2-hour) video from the kids that we hosted from Austria.
My grandmother is from Austria and we spent part of the evening online trying to learn more about her, which has turned out to be a fascinating search. We don’t know much about my mother’s mother. She was raised in Ybbs, Austria and came to the U.S. on a ship (the Cleveland) out of Hamburg, Germany in 1911. However, when she went back to Ybbs in 1930 (by boat with my mother, who was 10 years old at the time), there was no record of her being born there. They asked if illegitimate children were registered and they said “Oh, Yes”…everyone born in Ybbs would have been registered. Her mother died at age 34. Her father was “Sebastian” and played the accordion. He also died relatively young. She had a brother (who we found out might be a step-brother) who was killed in WWI. When they went back to the small farm where she grew up, she talked with the family who was living there (who were related in some way to Anton’s wife, who had also died) and while that was happening, another women peered from behind a door and looked at them like she was seeing ghosts! The couple said the older woman “came with the farm” (whatever that meant). Ybbs had built the new post office on top of the old common cemetery, so there were no gravestones to look at. In the U.S., my grandmother was Josephine Bieber (Busscher when she married my grandfather), but we found out in Austria she was Josefa Biber. Some Bibers were Austrian Catholic and some were Jewish. The immigration papers said Josefa Bieber, but names were often changed by a letter or two when immigrants entered the country. She had black hair, as did my mother, before it turned gray, certainly not a Germanic blonde. They visited an aunt Louisa who was rather unfriendly and scolded my grandmother for not writing (the letters were all censored back during the war). My grandmother came to America by herself at age 24. Her immigration papers said that she had a cousin in Philadelphia. We can’t read the last name…something like Bergheim…but there’s no family record of any relatives in Philadelphia and my grandmother never mentioned that she knew anyone there or ever went there. That might have been a contact that the nuns in Vienna (we know my grandmother was in Vienna for at least several years and took some cooking classes. A kindly group of nuns in Austria worked with some nuns in New Jersey and arranged for my grandmother to work as a cook for a Jewish family in New Jersey. My grandmother said the family (which had taken the rather Irish surname of Higgins to better fit in) were wonderful. They helped her learn English and really helped her become an American and give her confidence. Several years later, she found a better job in Winnetka, Illinois, working for Mr. Hibbard (who owned a hardware business in Chicago) and his wife. That where she met my grandfather, who was the milkman and she was the cook. They were married in 1915 in the same church that my mother attends now when she is in Wilmette during the summer. My father is 100% Luxembourger (family from two small towns, Vichten and Bissen). My mother’s father’s family came from Almelo in the Netherlands. I don’t know when they came, but my great-grandfather (who died at age 28 – leaving 3 small kids and a wife) was born in what is now Winnetka, Illinois. So, they’ve been in the U.S. since at least around the Civil War. We also know some in that family originally came from across the current border with Germany (Dingleheim…a town that no longer exists).
Sunday evening’s storms produced 50-60 mph wind gusts across parts of Kalamazoo county. Trees were toppled 5 miles north of Plainwell. Hail fell in Mattawan and up to 1″ hail was reported north of Kalamazoo. Rainfall as of 1 AM Monday: 0.89″ Battle Creek (still raining), 0.73″ Kalamazoo, 0.86″ Holland, 0.61 Grand Rapids Airport, 0.02″ Muskegon. I didn’t get much at my place. There was wind damage, hail damage and over 3″ of rain in parts of S. Wisconsin.
For Michigan weather observations and wind speeds, click here. Here’s WOOD-TV Interactive Radar, looping radar. Check out regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the College of DuPage Radar Map, the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory map, and a surface weather map. You can checkout the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion, the Northern Indiana NWS discussion (includes the Michigan Counties that border Indiana), the discussion for Northern Lower Michigan, and Eastern Lower Michigan. Check out Storm Total Rainfall (until they reset it). Here’s the Spyglass Condos Weather Station the S. Haven GLERL station, the Muskegon GLERL station, the Grand Haven Steelheaders webcam and weather station, and the weather station at Holland State Park. Check out the WOOD lightning tracker and U.S. lightning, the Maranatha Webcam at Lake Michigan and links to webcams. Here’s the infrared satellite loop (night) and the visible satellite loop (daytime), Lake Michigan water temperatures. Here’s storm reports from NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin and E. Michigan.