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Decision-support platform and innovative early warning products to better manage weather emergencies

Major progress and advances in understanding, monitoring and predicting weather-related disasters have been made. However, there’s still much room for improvement in the development of tools, processes and best practices to effectively cope with such emergencies.

Transport and Mobility
Society
Security

Overall, the EU-funded ANYWHERE project seeks to “empower exposed responder institutions and citizens to enhance their anticipation and proactive capacity of response in dealing with extreme and high-impact weather and climate events,” says coordinator Prof. Daniel Sempere-Torres. To achieve this, ANYWHERE has developed solutions that support a new concept of emergency management that’s able to improve the response capabilities of public protection and disaster relief actors across Europe and beyond.

Optimised disaster management for weather-induced hazards

The ANYWHERE team has developed a pan-European platform – A4EU – for decision support concerning extreme climate risks. It identifies beforehand critical situations that could lead to fatalities and economic losses. “Such early warning should improve protection measures and, in the case of catastrophic events, enhance the coordination of rescue operations,” notes Prof. Sempere-Torres. A4EU serves as a decision-making tool for operational authorities when faced with a crisis situation and will provide state-of-the-art early warning systems to help exposed populations minimise impacts. It’s adapted to provide multi-hazard early warning products and locally customisable decision-support services intended for the needs and requirements of national, regional and local authorities, as well as public and private operators of critical infrastructures. The platform automatically identifies in advance critical points to be affected, including their characteristics and location, allowing emergency response specialists to focus on local impacts. Project partners have implemented, tested and demonstrated seven A4EU prototypes at civil protection command centres in six European countries. Representing different climate scenarios, these operational platforms support decision-making processes to better tackle weather-induced emergencies. “The prototypes running live at the pilot sites for a one-year demonstration period confirm the capability of the developed tools to work anywhere in Europe and be easily adapted to new locations or environments,” explains Prof. Sempere-Torres.

Helping exposed populations avert disaster

The project team has also developed and implemented four self-protection tools for specific situations that both citizens and enterprises can use to effectively anticipate and respond to extreme weather-induced risks. A4Campsite increases self-protection at campsites located in the flood-prone areas of Catalonia, A4Snow predicts road impacts during severe snowfall in Catalonia, A4Schools boosts self-awareness to keep students safe at schools in Genoa when confronted with eventual flooding episodes, and A4Grid reduces storm-driven impacts on electricity transmission grids in Finland. It will be a busy final few months before ANYWHERE ends in December 2019. A final workshop in Brussels will feature a hands-on demonstration of the products and services, highlighting their innovation and market potential. There will also be real-time exhibits of the prototypes. Several complementary actions will be performed, enabling potential end users to request their own adapted A4You service, or to integrate selected impact-forecasting products into their own systems. A new line of services for Portuguese and Spanish municipalities has been launched, and the A4Cities platform will soon be operational. “ANYWHERE will transform emergency management and response from reactive to proactive,” concludes Prof. Sempere-Torres. “We envision the entire response chain responding more rapidly to extreme climate and weather events, and better coping with the social, environmental and economic consequences related to these events.”

Keywords

ANYWHERE, weather, response, early warning, emergency management, A4EU, multi-hazard early warning, disaster relief, public protection

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