The National Weather Service has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for Ottawa, Kent, Ionia, Muskegon, Newaygo, Mecosta, and Montcalm effective from 7 pm Saturday until 6 am Monday. A strong storm will be crossing the Ohio Valley Sunday, bringing snow to West Michigan, with some areas perhaps seeing as much as 10-12" of accumulation. Snowfall will be heaviest south as opposed to north, so near/south of I-94 is where the highest accumulations are expected... 8-12" possible. However, Eaton, Ottawa, and Kent could see anywhere from 4-7". Additionally, gusty winds will be blowing the snow quite a bit, causing drifting on roads along with poor visibility. Travel is discouraged from late Saturday night through Sunday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the following counties in West Michigan, effective from 7 pm Saturday until 4 am Monday: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, Van Buren,  St.Joseph, Branch, and Hillsdale. A strong winter storm moving into/across the Ohio Valley will bring periods of heavy snow to the Warning area, beginning late tonight and extending through at least Sunday evening. Forecast models indicate between 8 and 12" of accumulation are possible. Additionally, strong winds will cause blowing and drifting snow. Driving conditions will be hazardous Sunday. Travel is not encouraged.

Stay with Newschannel 3 and for the latest updates.

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Christmas tree growers converge on Allegan County for annual contest, convention

Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014
Christmas tree growers converge on Allegan County for annual contest, convention story image

ALLEGAN, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's Christmas in July for Allegan County Friday night.

The reason? The National Christmas Tree Association has chosen Allegan for its annual contest and convention.

Tree growers from across the country are gathering at Peterson's Riverview Nursery, competing for the top prize: a chance to shine in the White House come Christmas.

When it comes to Christmas trees, it really doesn't get any bigger than this.

The prize-winning grower will get one of their trees in the White House.

And now, twelve trees are in Allgean waiting for the most important decoration of all--a ribbon declaring it Grand Champion.

Growers from across the country are entering their best, after winning regional or state competitions.

But the holiday cheer goes far beyond Allegan County.

"If you win that contest, you get to present the tree that goes in the Blue Room of the White House, and present the tree to the First Lady," explained Rex Korson, with Korson's Tree Farm. "To us, it's the pinnacle."

Korston looked through 50,000 trees in his Montcalm County farm to find a perfect spruce.

"Cut the tree this morning, so try to keep it as fresh as possible," he said.

Industry experts look the trees over, and determine finalists. Then, growers and the general public can peruse the pines.

"They will vote for their favorite among the four species finalists," explained Rick Dungey with the National Christmas Tree Association. "That's how we'll determine overall Grand Champion."

Sadly, a Christmas dream didn't come true for our grower from West Michigan, as Korson was cut in the first round.

But they still expect a bright season ahead.

"Great experience," Korson said. "It's a symbol you're a high-quality grower, can produce high quality trees."

The Grand Champion will be announced Saturday morning.

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