WITH the wild weather that has struck Penrith lately there has been a flood of interest in local storm chaser John Scerri.
The St Marys electrician has been chasing storms as a hobby for 10 years.
He set up the Facebook page, Penrith Storm Chasing, three years ago to document his activity and share information and warnings about local weather.
During the severe storm on Monday last week ( January 28), the page hits went from 425 ‘‘likes’’ to almost 5000 overnight.
Extreme weather has fascinated Mr Scerri since his youth and he is driven by a desire to see what will happen.
‘‘My curiosity was aroused and one day I realised I really liked watching thunderstorms,’’ he said.
This childhood interest became a long-time passion as he began actively chasing storms.
Mr Scerri monitors weather news, checks radars and looks out for storm clouds.
When he believes a storm is about to break, he travels in its direction and watches, often taking photos and sharing them on his Facebook page.
He said his most dangerous experience was chasing a storm in the Blue Mountains when he was within 50 metres of lightning striking.
Despite the risks, Mr Scerri enjoys the thrill his hobby brings.
He says he wants to keep people informed about possible hazards through his online posting.
‘‘I like to tell people what’s happening,’’ he said.
‘‘I give people updates and a bit of security.''