IT hit at about 10pm Thursday night and the devastation was clear to see by Friday morning.
A tornado ripped a path of destruction across Armidale overnight (October 14) and has marked a terrifying and ferocious start to the storm season on the NSW Northern Tablelands.
Adam Marshall MP has contacted the Minister for Emergency Services about a disaster declaration for the area.
Armidale Express editor Laurie Bullock said the damage was widespread with rooftops ripped from houses, trees hauled from the ground and power lines cracked at the pole.
The locality of the North Hill was severely struck by the wild weather.
Mr Bullock said Essential Energy workers had closed the streets around Chestnut Avenue in northern Armidale.
"Power lines are down and it looks like a couple of big trees have come down. One of them looks like it has hit a power pole and another one has collected the power lines on the way down," he said.
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In that street and around the corner in Rockvale Road, trees have fallen crushing cars and blocking roads.
In Erskine Street, traffic lights are out and many businesses have been forced to close because of power outages.
The University of New England has closed its campus to assess building damage. A university spokesperson said the campus i likely to be closed until October 20.
It was one of many storm cells to lash NSW on Thursday with Greater Sydney for a short period also on tornado alert and several intense cells rotated over the city throughout the afternoon.
Emergency services received more than 500 calls for help from Armidale residents impacted by the storm.
Around half the population of 25,000 were without power overnight and the State Emergency Service (SES) is working to clear roads blocked by trees and debris, while council were out and about Friday morning clearing green waste.
An Essential Energy spokesperson said additional crews have been dispatched from Tenterfield, Guyra, Walcha, Glen Innes, Tamworth and Inverell to assist with repairs.
"Our crews in Armidale have been kept busy overnight, with a mini-tornado going through to the north of the town during a large storm," the spokesperson said.
"Many spans of powerline and multiple power poles are down in the area.
"Many downed sections of the network are in heavily vegetated areas, which will hamper our access to make repairs. Poor weather conditions are forecast again today, which may also delay power restoration times.
"We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their patience while our crews work as quickly as safety will allow restoring power."
Local MP Adam Marshall said it was a miracle no-one was seriously injured.
"A huge thank you to the SES, Police, Essential Energy, RFS and Fire & Rescue NSW and Armidale Regional Council crews who have been working all night (and still working), restoring power, removing debris, temporarily repairing roofs and getting people out of their damaged homes safety," Mr Marshall said.
"Many businesses are also badly impacted and the University of New England sustained damage to its buildings, with the campus closed today.
"A large clean up operation has been arranged for today between all the response agencies and a detailed impact assessment is also being conducted, pending a disaster declaration.
"I've been in contact with the Minister for Emergency Services this morning about this and I'll keep the community updated."