Weather Forecast


Rural Perham murder: Pipe wrench reportedly used in brutal killing of mother, son

Strong winds, hail pound Otter Tail County

Mother Nature unleashed her fury late Tuesday evening, June 13, in many sections of Otter Tail County. Residents encountered strong wind, hail, power outages and damage to property.

"Our sheriff's office received many calls from Big McDonald Lake, northwest of Dent, which was especially hard hit," said County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke during a press briefing Wednesday morning, June 14.

"Large fallen trees were blocking roadways near Big McDonald Lake," he said, "and nearby power lines were toppled by the strong wind."

The storm, felt in many areas of the county, included strong wind gusts up to 67 miles per hour and heavy rain.

A cattle barn was blown down east of Elizabeth, and the owner worked to get cattle off the road.

Outages were lengthy in many areas, as damaged was reported to power lines and other equipment owned and operated by Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power Company and Pelican Rapids-based Lake Region Electric Cooperative.

"Several areas of the county experienced downed trees and power lines, damage to buildings and residences, and damage to outbuildings and lake equipment," said Van Dyke.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported to the sheriff's office.

Residents were urged by the sheriff's office to use caution in removing debris and trees. Several trees were precariously leaning in certain directions.

A semi tipped on its side on Interstate 94, southeast of Fergus Falls, at 9:23 p.m. at the height of the storm and strong winds.

"We in the sheriff's office also want to commend others who came to our assistance, namely the county highway department, city police departments and fire departments from throughout the county," said Van Dyke.

He reminds area residents that power outages are to be reported to power suppliers. Use of 911 is only in the event of actual emergencies.

To sign up for Code Red alerts:

To notify you by phone of severe weather, complete the following three steps:

1) Visit the Otter Tail County CodeRED community enrollment page at If you do not have internet access, contact Otter Tail County Emergency Management at (218) 998-8067 for assistance.

2) Enter your contact information, including landline and cellular phone numbers, and email addresses. Select the types of emergency, community and weather messages you want to receive.

3) Save the Caller ID numbers into your phone's contacts so you can easily recognize the call.

Break-ins at Clitherall

A suspect is linked to break-ins on June 13 at a business and nearby residence in Clitherall.

The suspect gained access to the business by breaking a window and entering the facility. Missing cash was reported to the sheriff's office at 12:44 p.m.

Evidence was being collected at the scene of this crime.

Later, at 3:27 p.m., a homeowner reported entry to a detached garage at a residence in Clitherall.

A vehicle was rummaged but nothing was missing, according to sheriff deputies.