Shocking footage has captured a late-night tornado ripping through the NSW regional city of Armidale.
Reports say the tornado hit between 10 and 11pm (local time) on Thursday, leaving a trail of destruction.
Emergency services received more than 120 calls for help in the Northern Tablelands city.
Some residents were trapped in their homes as multiple cars were flipped over and roofs ripped off, NSW Incident Alerts tweeted.
Power lines and trees also fell, leaving about half the population of 25,000 without power.
The SES is working to clear roads blocked by trees and debris.
NSW State Emergency Service Superintendent Scott Dodson told the Nine Network on Friday “there is a lot of damage up in the Armidale area”.
“Fire and rescue are working with SES up there,” Mr Dodson said.
The SES has formed strike teams to help the community with the clean-up.
“We just want to make sure that everything is safe and help get the residents up there back to normal,” Mr Dodson said.
Some of the hail in Armidale this evening. Just hearing reports of a possible tornado near Walcha ... which may explain the strange 'turbine' like sound I heard overhead earlier. pic.twitter.com/g6r4LmrBQG
— Daniel J. Leahy 💉 (@danieljleahy) October 14, 2021
NSW residents stunned by extreme weather
Shocked locals took to social media to post about the wild storm, which also brought heavy rain and hail.
Footage of the moment the tornado formed, captured and posted on Facebook by Louise Streeting, has generated a buzz online, with more than 23,000 views so far.
The tornado can be seen picking up speed as items flow from the ground into the wind tunnel.
Pulses of lightning in the background light up the sky to highlight the tornado as it dangles from the clouds.
Others posted images of the large hail built up in their backyards.
A photo posted in Higgins Storm Chasing Facebook group showed the hail in Armidale was roughly the size of a 50-cent coin.
“Armidale and tornado are not words I’d expect to use in the same sentence. Thankfully my side of town is fine. Got a bit dicey there with the hail though,” one local tweeted.
Westfield shopping centre's roof collapses in Sydney
Severe thunderstorms also hit Sydney, with most damage occurring in the west and southwest.
Hail larger than five centimetres was reported between Sydney and Cowra in the state's central west.
Mr Dodson said there were 212 calls for help on Thursday night in Sydney and the lower Blue Mountains.
The roof at a Westfield shopping centre in the western Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt collapsed as the storm raged.
"We had over 5000 people evacuated but fortunately zero injuries, which is a great result," Mr Dodson told Nine Network.
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