Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Storm Chasers Live for It

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Storm Chasers Live for It

Article excerpt

WITH deafening thunderclaps and lightning crackles, the storm season has announced its arrival across the Central Highlands with a razzle-dazzle display of force and majestic fury.

It's the greatest free show on earth and one Emerald coal tester, Jason Koch, has always loved "the life, lightning, mud and rain brought with it". His love of storms started when he was a kid growing up on the opal fields.

"I have loved them ever since," Jason said.

Carina Pelentsov remembers her childhood fascination with lightning and the way it would streak across the sky as she watched, transfixed, from her bedroom window.

"Having a room with a big window, I always got the best shows at night, though thunder was actually scary for me, and I would hide under the blankets," she said.

"Now I am a bit older and have a love for photography, well I get the chance to hit the road and capture some of Mother Nature's beauty."

Carina wants to experience the adrenaline rush of storm chasing in America's infamous and deadly Tornado Alley.

Ben Shorten is a stickler for safety, always armed with a first-aid kit, four-wheel drive recovery gear, even a chainsaw and snig rope and an EPIRB if he's going off-road into remote areas to experience his personal storm buzz.

"I'm always hanging out for the first storm of the season... and every one after it," he said.

"We are not meteorologists, so we take each season as it comes."

Jason, Carina, Ben, Blake Allison and Blayne Fenton are the guys and gal with their eyes on swirling skies, and the quintet behind Facebook's Central Queensland Storm Chasers.

Since launching on September 25, the page has more than 7000 likes and they're determined to build a following through posting credible warnings and incredible images.

"Central Queensland Storm Chasers is all about sharing pictures, providing the public with severe weather warnings and forecasting potential thunderstorms and severe weather events, and of course going for a chase within central Queensland surrounds," Jason said.

"We are by no means meteorologists -- that's BoM's job -- and we do rely on their services for forecasting severe weather warnings. …

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