ANYWHERE successfully develops tools and services to tackle the climate emergency

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Training session for Catalan civil defence staff on the functions of the A4Cat platform held in November 2018.

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Heavy rain in Torreblanca (province of Castelló), 19 October 2018

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Current members of the Center of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) of the UPC

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Screenshot of A4Cat showing the precipitation forecast in Europe. The platform was developed within the framework of the ANYWHERE project by Hyds and implemented by the Catalan civil defence service

ANYWHERE’s tools and services for preventing and managing extreme weather phenomena are now available in Europe. They were created in the framework of a European project coordinated by the UPC’s Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) and presented on 29 and 30 October in Brussels to an audience of 200 experts and European civil defence officers.

Nov 04, 2019

The Final Conference of the European project ANYWHERE, coordinated by the Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · Barcelona Tech (UPC), was held on 29 and 30 October. It showcased outcomes for the tools and services for preventing, anticipating and managing extreme weather-induced risks developed within the framework of the project that have been operationally validated in seven pilot sites across Europe.

Three and a half years after it was set up in 2016, the ANYWHERE (Enhancing Emergency Management and Response to Extreme Weather and Climate Events) project has achieved its scientific and technical objectives, as shown in detail at the Final Conference.

The Conference brought together more than 200 representatives from operational emergency management authorities, research and development organisations and technological enterprises at the SQUARE Brussels Convention Centre. The event included a hands-on demonstration that allowed participants to explore the operational tools available.

Pilot site demonstrations in real time
Within the framework of the project, a pan-European multi-hazard early warning platform for faster analysis and anticipation of weather-induced risks prior to the event was developed. The tool is able to simulate more than one risk (such as floods, storm surges, heatwaves, forest fires, droughts, severe winds and snowfall) simultaneously and translate meteorological forecasts into quantitative and measurable impacts, with a focus on affected people (in inhabited areas) and critical infrastructure (roads, hospitals, schools and certain industries).

The platform was tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) control centres of seven pilot sites that represent a variety of climate scenarios across Europe: Catalonia (Spain), Liguria (Italy), South Savo (Finland), Bern Canton (Switzerland), Rogaland (Norway) and Corsica (France). Furthermore, a new prototype that, for the first time, covers an entire country, Spain, was developed.

The prototypes were improved in all pilot sites following suggestions by civil defence services. They were validated by demonstrating their capacity to become efficient technological tools that support decision-making processes during emergencies.

During the Conference, success stories on the use of the platforms were described, such as in the heavy rain and storm episode that hit Valencia and Murcia (Spain) in September 2019.

Towards a more resilient society

Through the project, several tools for enhancing the self-protection and resilience of citizens who face extreme weather-induced risks that could affect specific situations or economic activities were developed.

Specifically, the following were developed: a flood-oriented early warning system for campsites in vulnerable areas, which was implemented in 14 locations in the Tordera Delta in Catalonia; a service based on Telegram for improving communication protocols between emergency managers, families and schools in flood-prone areas in Genoa; a decision support tool for predicting road affectations during severe snowfall that allows managerial decisions to be taken while the fleets of logistics platforms are handled in Catalonia; a tool for anticipating the impact of thunderstorms that can damage electrical grids and cause power cuts in South Savo (Finland).

These self-protection tools are being used in test mode on a daily basis at the sites mentioned, and the conclusions gathered by end users after a one-year demonstration period were shared during the event.

The Final Conference was a crucial action that demonstrated ANYWHERE's capacity to transfer innovative tools and services to the market. These tools and services make it possible to change the paradigm (from reactive to proactive) in the management of emergencies derived from extreme weather phenomena.