Anna Habeck from the Kiama SES spent 12 hours yesterday helping out others - while her house had a gaping hole in the roof and water on the floor.
Ms Habeck said that she had got up to close a bedroom window when she heard the intense storm come through.
"For me it lasted about five to 10 seconds but that was the strongest winds I've ever heard, the heaviest rain I've ever heard," Ms Habeck said.
"I saw lightning strike the power lines in front of my house and heard all the big bangs and crashes and realised something was going on.
"I could hear the roofs of the houses coming over. I think that's what caused the damage on our roof.
"Those poor people, they have houses that are now one storey when they used to be two."
Just after the storm passed at 3am Ms Habeck found her rented house in Colley Drive had a half-metre wide hole from the kitchen to the roof, water running down the inside walls and pooling on the carpet.
So she logged her own house as a job with the SES and then headed to the Kiama headquarters to help other storm victims.
"There wasn't much I could do at my place," she said.
"There was more immediate need than what I had, so that's where I go."
She said it was hard to work out just what had happened during the first few hours of darkness.
"Until it was daylight, we just tried to grasp the enormity of the situation," she said.
"We were doing reconnaissance and door-knocking on the most-affected streets to make sure everyone was OK."
Once the sun came up she could see the path the storm and the winds cut through Kiama.
"There's a strip of about 500 metres wide and three kilometres long," she said.
Speaking at the end of a 12-hour stint of helping people in Kiama, Ms Habeck said she planned to stay with family last night.
"I'm too tired to consider anything longer term right now," she said.
I'll probably have a good sleep and then spend much of this week cleaning up with the SES and then ring the real estate agent and say 'hey I've got a problem'."