Louise Parry recently attended the annual EFAS Partners meeting on behalf of SEPA and the forecasting service. She sends the following report.
In March this year the Annual European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) Partners meeting took place in De Bilt, near Utrecht, in the Netherlands. EFAS is a European Commission initiative set up by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, to which SEPA (and the SFFS) became a partner in 2015. Access to EFAS is of operational benefit to the SFFS duty hydrologists as it is a complementary and added-value service to our national forecasting system, helping to increase preparedness for fluvial floods by providing a regional forecast up to 10 days in advance.
The annual meeting is an opportunity for the partners to feed back information on EFAS performance over the last year, as well as for the EFAS scientific community to update the partners on new developments in the EFAS service. The last 12 months have been relatively quiet in Scotland in regards to fluvial flooding (thankfully!), therefore there was little to be fed back to EFAS in terms of their performance. However, areas of the UK have suffered flooding from other sources, in particular from surface water (pluvial) flooding, which is an extreme challenge to the forecasting community due to the highly localised nature of the events in contrast to the resolution of the forecasting models. However, both the SFFS and our England and Wales cousins, the FFC, have models and tools which help the forecaster assess the risk of a surface water flood event occurring. Therefore, we (the SFFS) decided to collaborate with the FFC again this year, to produce a feedback poster with a twist, giving the requested feedback, but also detailing some of our approaches to surface water flood forecasting. This created the opportunity for scientists and forecasters from other nations to ask questions regarding our methodologies and prompt discussion on ideas for future developments. This exchange of experiences and ideas for development is what I believe to be one of the key benefits of the EFAS community and the annual meeting.