tornado ripped through parts of Leicestershire yesterday damaging buildings and cars and tearing up trees.
Elsewhere, lightning strikes hit buildings in Leicester city centre, flash floods made roads impassable and hailstones the size of golf balls rained down.
Newtown Linford resident Robin Redley, who had a massive branch smash through his front door as storms battered the county
The freak storm passed over the county in the space of a few hours – however, some areas were not affected at all.
Firefighters responded to 190 incidents in just four hours – five times more than they normally deal with in 24 hours. Police reported three people were injured in storm-related incidents in Coalville, Loughborough and Leicester.
An insurance broker in Hinckley said they had more than 200 calls yesterday afternoon from people with damage to houses, outbuildings and cars.
The villages of Newbold Verdon and Newtown Linford were hit by the tornado. Resident Jo Westaby's garage was destroyed in the storm. She said: “It looks like something out of a cartoon. The walls have fallen down but left the door standing and I don’t know where the roof is.”
Meanwhile, a man had a lucky escape when part of an oak tree crashed though his front door during yesterday's storms.
Robin Redley was on the phone to his brother when a 10-foot section of the tree snapped off and smashed into his house in Markfield Lane, Newtown Linford.
The tree landed on his Audi A4 Avant, wrecking it, before smashing through the front door of the semi-detached house.
Sales worker Mr Redley, 49, said: "I was seconds away from being killed. I was talking to my brother and looking out of the front room window."
Mr Redley told his story after violent storms left a trail of destruction in parts of the county, including Leicester, Coalville, Loughborough, Hinckley, Burbage, Groby, Anstey, Newbold Verdon, Newtown Linford, Desford, Thurmaston and Syston.
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•More of your pictures: Including floods in Barkby Road, Coalville and Thornton Reservoir.
Mr Redley said: "I could see a wall of wind and rain coming towards me.
"I went to go through into the kitchen and had just stepped through the hallway when the tree came crashing down through the door.
"It sounded like an explosion. It was like something you would see on TV.
"When I looked out the back, I saw a heavy metal patio chair spiral up into the air and land half-way down the garden.
"I think my car is a write-off. I have never seen anything like it in my life."
Leicestershire Fire Service said they were called out to 190 incidents in just four hours – five times more calls than in a normal 24 hours.
The East Midlands Ambulance Service said they dealt with a man who suffered an electric shock from his computer after a building was hit by lightning in Ibstock, someone was hurt after falling in flood water in Hinckley, another person was injured by falling roof tiles in Burbage, and one person was in shock after a flooding incident in Loughborough.
Police said they had received a number of reports of flooding, fallen trees and damage to properties. The AA said in the space of half-an-hour at lunchtime they received 29 claims for cars damaged by freak hail in and around the city.
The storm cut a swathe through the village of Newbold Verdon, leaving many homes severely damaged, while others remained untouched.
Hundreds of properties had roofs damaged, garage doors were left twisted and buckled, garage roofs were blown off into neighbours' gardens and mature trees standing 30ft tall were uprooted.
Yet neighbouring streets suffered little or no damage.
Karen Dilley, 48, of Dragons Lane, in the village, said: "The sky went a strange black and the whole house was in darkness. It ripped tiles off roofs and left garage doors hanging on their hinges."
Neil and Angela Harrison, of Gilbert Drive, had a 30-year-old silver birch in their garden uprooted and their children's climbing frame was demolished. Another mature tree at the front of their home was blown over.
Jean Miller, 80, of Arnolds Crescent, said: "I thought it was a tornado. Everything was flying around, literally everything."
Neighbours George and Doreen Webster returned from a shopping trip to Hinckley to find their garage door mangled and a neighbour's shed roof in their garden.
Mrs Webster, 83, said: "We came back to find the neighbours out in the street. It had lifted our garage roof off and twisted the door."
Alex Coleman, 49, of Oaks Drive, whose 30ft conifer was blown over into a neighbour's garden, said: "I shouted at the dog to come in when it started raining.
"The next thing, some fence panels went flying and it took the roofs off two neighbours' garages."
Teacher Jo Westaby, who was supposed to be celebrating her 43rd birthday, surveyed the wreckage of her demolished brick-built garage at her Pasture Lane home.
She said: "All the walls have fallen down, but left the door standing. I don't know where the roof is."
Son Jack, 18, said: "The TV went off and when I looked outside I could hear the wind getting up. It was really loud. I saw a huge tree go down."
Hailstones the size of golf balls, which fell on many areas during the storm, wrecked the bodywork of a year-old car belonging to a Leicestershire police officer.
Every panel on Sergeant Clive Sparling's Suzuki Grand Vitara was damaged by the giant balls of ice which fell in Melton.
Sgt Sparling, 44, said: "I've never seen anything like it, it's like the sort of thing you would see in America. When they first started falling, I thought someone had thrown a golf ball, then I realised it was ice."
Pupils at the King Edward VII College and Warren Hills Primary School, in Coalville, and at Burleigh Community College, in Loughborough, were sent home due to flooding.