Storms wreak havoc on Minnesota, but Perham area escapes the worst
The Perham area seems to have missed the worst of some bad storms that have moved through the region over the last few days.
Thunder, lightening and some high winds have accompanied heavy rainfall in the immediate area, but there have been no reports of any damage in the cities of Perham, New York Mills or Ottertail.
Drains and ditches, however, are getting their workouts. The area has seen substantial rainfall since the start of the recent storm cycle, with the city of New York Mills reporting 3 inches of rain since Saturday (that's as of Wednesday morning).
The city of Ottertail reported about the same overall, with 2 inches falling on Tuesday alone.
Rainfall amounts are not recorded by the city of Perham, but city staff said they had heard no reports of any weather-related problems.
The rain did cause an issue for Turtle Fest, as Wednesday's turtle races needed to be cancelled. Imaginick, who was scheduled to perform during the races, has been rescheduled to appear Thursday night with the Miss Tootsie Beauty Contest.
Other parts of west central Minnesota haven't been so lucky, suffering damage from torrential rains, flash floods, severely high winds and large hail.
Just west of Detroit Lakes on Tuesday, hail stones the size of golf balls and small baseballs smashed through a half dozen car windows on County Road 6. While Detroit Lakes itself saw mostly pea-sized hail, Audobon, Cormorant and Rochert areas were reportedly doused with the larger hail stones.
In Willmar, storms on Sunday produced winds up to 78 mph, as well as funnel clouds, hail and lightning, causing fallen branches and trees and toppling more than 30 power poles. Farm buildings and some homes were also damaged in that area.
The ground around Willmar is nearly saturated from recent rains, leading to rapid runoff and flash flooding. A flash flood watch remains in effect there through Wednesday night, as more torrential rainfall is expected. It could come at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour.
Just west of Willmar, in Grove City, football bleachers were flipped over onto the field, and a lightning storm lasted four hours on Sunday.
About 100 miles south of Perham, in Appleton, Minn., straight line winds on Sunday were clocked at 78 mph, and a funnel cloud was spotted.
Northeast of Perham, Park Rapids logged nearly four inches of rain over Monday and Tuesday, taxing rain gutters to their limits but causing no reported road problems.
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported as a result of the storms in west central Minnesota.
Other parts of the state have gotten hit far worse by recent weather.
In the south, as much as nine inches of rain fell in some areas, resulting in the evacuation of homes, road closures near Cannon Falls, Miesville and other towns, and sandbagging along rivers and creeks.
In the north, flooding in Duluth has caused massive damage in the city and surrounding areas, with roads crumbling, homes and businesses flooded and several zoo animals drowned. At one point, the zoo's polar bear escaped its exhibit, as did a seal, which was later found on Grand Avenue.
A flooding emergency has been declared in both Duluth and Superior, Wis. Some residents are being evacuated, while about 300 people in the area are without power and others are without internet and cell phone service.
Flash flood warnings remain in effect for the Duluth and North Shore areas until 10:30 p.m. tonight, as more storms are expected to dump more rain there.
According to the National Weather Service, rain and scattered thunderstorms are expected in Otter Tail County and other parts of west central Minnesota through today and this evening, with the heaviest rainfall passing through here before tonight.
Anyone in the area who has experienced damage from the recent storms is encouraged to contact the Focus at 218-346-5900.
*Information for this article was taken from Forum Communications Co. news sources