Northern Sydney residents are cleaning up today following the widespread damage caused by yesterday's freak storm that meteorologists have confirmed was a tornado.
New footage has been released from a camera mounted on the dashboard of a car driving through yesterday's storm, showing the violent winds and bolts of lightning.
The car is stopped at a set of traffic lights when the tornado strikes, blowing debris into traffic and shaking trees violently for only a few seconds before the calm returns.
The storm caused a trail of destruction through the Hornsby CBD about 2.45pm with winds above 100km/h that brought down trees and power lines, collapsed the ceiling of a cinema and flipped a demountable building onto its roof.
Eight people were hospitalised, including five who were inside the demountable at Hornsby Station when it was blown off its foundations.
Andrew Treloar, the manager of weather services at the Bureau of Meteorology, said damage was being examined today to establish exactly how fast and far the tornado spread.
"People ... only notice the tornado for a matter of minutes or less because it will pass through quite quickly," Mr Treloar said.
"But the actual tornado might last for 10, 20, 30 minutes or so."
Mr Treloar said the thunderstorm started in Manly but it was not known at which point the tornado's funnel touched down.
He said it was the fourth tornadoes recorded in NSW this year and the first of the season.
Most of the debris has been cleared but the clean-up continues for many, with several cars still under fallen trees on Jersey Street this morning, the Hornsby Advocate reported.
The Coles-Myer section of the Westfield Hornsby shopping centre, which includes about 100 stores, will be closed today while 200 stores in the David Jones-Woolworths section will be open.
Hornsby Library will be closed because of roof damage and the TAFE Children's Centre is closed indefinitely as a result of damage.
Author: Kieran Campbell. Approving editor: Matthew Henry.