Rain or hail, Blacktown residents have a new page to turn to for locally produced weather information.
The Blacktown Storm Chasing Facebook page was established this week after interest in sister page Penrith Storm Chasing peaked in the wake of local and northern NSW floods.
Page creator John Scerri has chased thunderstorms for 10 years.
An electrician by day, he found several comments from people in Blacktown and neighbouring suburbs asking for more information about storms in the area and decided to set up the Blacktown page to provide it.
Interest in the Penrith page has skyrocketed from 426 likes to more than 4900 in the past three days.
‘‘It’s an early warning system,’’ Mr Scerri said.
‘‘I just like to go out there and let the community know what is happening.’’
Mr Scerri said he would be chasing storms ‘‘even if there wasn’t any social media’’.
‘‘When I was a young fella, if there was a thunderstorm at home I was the first person on the verandah,’’ he said.
‘‘Some people get scared of thunder and lightning but I always wanted to see what was happening.
‘‘When a storm starts in the Blue Mountains you might get 10 to 15 minutes of it in Penrith then you’re done and dusted.
‘‘If I’m chasing a storm in Penrith and I know that it’s heading towards Blacktown, why stop?’’
Mr Scerri said he remembered chasing a severe storm through Blacktown about five years ago.
Hail damaged more than 20,000 houses on that day.
‘‘It started out as something small [but] that storm cell ... unleashed a lot of lightning, hail and heavy rain,’’ he said.