Large parts of the state were hit by hail and torrential rains yesterday, with a tornado that targeted a regional city.
The State Emergency Service responded to 456 calls for help overnight and that number is likely to increase to this day.
NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent Scott Dodson said today that cleanup operations continue today.
He said shoppers were lucky to escape unscathed at the Westfield Shopping Center on Mt Druitt in western Sydney after the roof partially collapsed during the storm.
“I look at that vision and you think woo wow how they all got out alive … you have the electricity,” Dodson said.
“You also have the electricity there, in addition to all the things that fall. They were very lucky to survive this one.”
Shoppers were evacuated when hail fell through the roof at the Best & Less store.
Several customers were still inside, and one buyer even slipped in the water while walking out the door.
Centimeter-thick hail as New South Wales battered by massive storms
Structural engineers have been evaluating the damage at the site. The mall had reopened just three days after closing.
A spokesman for Westfield Mt Druitt said no one was injured.
And overnight, a tornado struck the rural New South Wales town of Armidale, with images showing the tornado circling over properties.
It struck shortly after midnight and ripped roofs off houses, downed power lines and even flipped cars.
Residents posted images of golf ball-sized hailstones that fell during the storm.
Dodson said emergency crews are heading to Armidale today.
“A lot of damage in the Armidale area overnight. Fire & Rescue is working with SES there.
“We just formed some strike teams to go out and help the community there and help the community clean up.”
The hardest hit suburbs in Sydney were Penrith and Mount Druitt, but extreme conditions also extended north to Newcastle and the central coast.
And on the south coast of New South Wales, Nowra has received 74mm of rain in the last 24 hours.
The extreme conditions extended as far south as Victoria.
Hail fell over northwest Melbourne and was so thick that residents even made snowmen out of it.
In other parts of Victoria, there were flash floods in Geelong and Gippsland in Traralgon.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the weather system has weakened, but today there will be strong winds and heavy rain.
Localized thunderstorms are expected in the east and a flood warning remains for central Victoria.
This morning, the Bureau of Meteorology warns that there will be more severe storms in New South Wales in the next few hours.
They are likely to produce damaging winds and heavy hail in the warning area for the next several hours.
Locations that may be affected include Lismore, Ballina, Casino, Kyogle, Yamba, and Maclean.