FILMING, tracking and forecasting severe weather conditions has become second nature to Antonio Parancin.
The Shaws Bay resident has nearly been struck by lightning, been pummelled by hail storms and stared awe-struck at leviathan cloud formations - and said he predicted the Lismore floods weeks ahead of Cyclone Debbie hitting the Queensland coast
So on Thursday when other people were preparing to secure their properties against the predicted hail and thunderstorms, Mr Parancin was driving all over the region to capture vision and still images for his website North Coast Storm Chasers.
Despite the name "storm chaser", the 26-year-old said he took great care when he was out and about.
He said he drove carefully, wore rubber-soled shoes, kept a small first-aid kit, food and water in his car and never put himself into a life-threatening situation.
"While I have almost been hit by lightning four times, it has not been intentional," he said.
"The last time was when I was getting into my car after taking photos at Ballina Marina and a nearby boat mast was struck only a few metres away. It was so close I felt the heat and sparks and heard it make a loud crack."
Mr Parancin said his fascination with thunder and lightning grew from his childhood fear of both.
"I used to be frightened of storms when I was young so I decided to study them," Mr Parancin said.
"So ever since I was 14 or 15, I've been chasing storms, lightning and severe weather patterns and I feel connected to weather at a deeper level than even I can explain."
But although he often has hunches, he follows them up with research using weather radar and observations to make his predictions.
"About two weeks before Cyclone Debbie hit the coast, I said it would bend and come down to our area and cause flooding," he said.
"Now I have nearly 52,000 people from all over the region and beyond following me through the North Coast Storm Chasers site which covers from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney and as far inland as Moree."
Mr Parancin said he was delighted emergency organisations, communities and individuals respected his work.
"I have groups including the State Emergency Services and the Rural Fire Service, to real estate and car businesses, pet places and holiday parks follow and occasionally share the posts," he said.
"Even people from (the) US and Canada make contacts and are sharing my photos and weather stories."
While his day job as a disability care worker is fulfilling, Mr Parancin said he hoped one day to make his passion and flourishing weather prediction and imaging website his profession.
"I hope North Coast Storm Chasers can be something I can make a living out of as it's something I love (and) want to give my full-time commitment (to)," he said.
"It's something I enjoy, to research weather and share my photos and accurate non-hyped information about weather events."
After the Cyclone Debbie event, Mr Parancin said from this cyclone season onwards North Coast Storm Chasers would be covering cyclones which threatened to hit Queensland and New South Wales.