A tornado has ripped through Australia's largest city, damaging buildings and tearing down trees and power lines.

The twister pummelled the southern suburb of Kurnell packing winds of up to 213k/ph, with residents saying they heard a roaring sound "like a freight train" as the storm struck.

Severe damage was reported in Kurnell, with lorries overturned, roofs ripped off homes and a number of buildings sustaining major structural damage.

The local desalination plant also sustained significant damage and had to be evacuated.

Two people were injured in the storm, neither seriously.

The tornado developed from a supercell thunderstorm which tore through the state of New South Wales on Wednesday.

A supercell storm has an element of rotation within it and is the most dangerous type of thunderstorm. It regularly brings giant hail, flash flooding, and tornadoes.

The supercell which hit Sydney on Wednesday was no exception. As well as the tornado in Kurnell, the system also brought hail the size of golf balls and flooding to the city.

It is not common for Sydney to be hit by a tornado, but the storms are not unheard of in New South Wales. The state usually sees at least one tornado each year.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies