A MAN said lightning which blew apart a 120ft redwood tree yesterday was “like a bomb going off”.
Nicholas Kaye said the electrical surge blew apart his telephone and Internet router in Shipton-on-Cherwell yesterday afternoon.
Elsewhere, a cricket club pavilion was destroyed by fire, homes and businesses lost power and trains were delayed after lightning strikes.
Father-of-two Mr Kaye, 54, was having lunch with wife Antonia and children Milly, 15, and William, 14, when the bolt hit.
He said: “There was an explosion like I had never heard before. It was like a bomb going off.
“We turned around, looked out and there was all this debris there.”
Mr Kaye’s car was dented by a shard from the tree and a window was smashed.
He added: “My son and daughter were petrified. Everywhere we looked we found damage.
“It looks like a nuclear site. There are spears of wood dug into the ground.”
Mr Kaye praised the work of two fire crews who came to their aid.
Neighbour Miranda Barran, 51, said: “The lightning hit a tree and the whole tree has blown up and splintered all over the garden. It’s unbelievable.”
And six fire engines were called to the blaze at the Banbury Twenty cricket club, in Ermont Way, at about 2.35pm after reports of a lightning strike.
The club’s president, Geoff Hawkins, said last night: “I’m gutted.
“It has been hit by a bolt of lightning and it has gutted the whole pavilion.”
He added: “It is 11 years old, cost us £350,000 to put up and it’s gone in five minutes flat.”
Southern Electric spokeswoman Hannah Gleave said that about 230 customers lost power for about two hours after a large fault occurred in Kidlington at about 1.50pm.
But she said it was too early to say whether the power cut was caused by the storms.
Banbury Twenty cricket club's pavilion on fire
She said: “Until our engineers have finished the job and made the repairs, it’s too early to say it definitely was.”
Train travellers faced delays when lightning hit a tree and it fell on to the line between Banbury and London Marylebone.
The line was blocked for nearly two hours after the strike at about 3pm and disruption to trains continued into the evening peak.