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Delft-FEWS International Userdays 2021

The annual Delft-FEWS Userdays for the whole community was organized in three online events hosted by Dave Casson and Thies Blokhuijsen on the 8th, 11th and 15th of November. The theme this year was ‘Extreme Weather’, with each of the three days having a different focus. The downsides of an online event notwithstanding, the upside is that lots of people were able to participate and join. With attendance peaking at over 140 people, from all over the world! We have listened to presentations on FEWS systems from Thailand, Flanders, Bolivia, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, to name a few. The full program and all presentations can be found at the events page.

The sub-theme of the first day was Delft-FEWS in Extreme Practice, in which we looked at extreme weather of the past and future.  The day started with a welcome by the managing director of Deltares Annemieke Nijhof, in which she stressed the importance of early warning systems in climate change adaptation and keeping our delta’s habitable. The keynote presentation of the day was given by IPCC AR6 report lead author prof. Bart van den Hurk (VU Amsterdam / Deltares). He shared the key messages of the report, focusing on the weather extremes of the future and operational forecasting. The rest of the day had a large coastal forecasting focus. With amongst others presentations on Forecasting inundation risks in Ethekwini (Durban, SA) and the Early Warning system for the Gulf of Thailand and its application during the Pabuk Tropical Storm (2019), in which more than 30.000 people were evacuated based on this FEWS-systems’ early warning.

In the second day we focused more on the End-User and Operators of Delft-FEWS systems. Daniel Bachmann, a former Deltares colleague and professor at the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal opened the day with a keynote on the German Flood of July 2021 and how we could improve our preparedness and decrease impact of flooding by putting more research into practice. A joint presentation about three different approaches on scenario training with the WaterCoach, shed a light on capacity- and organizational preparedness building with the Delft-FEWS WaterCoach tool.

The last day was dedicated to technical developments of - and around Delft-FEWS. The keynote of Wendy Parker, Professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech , on Fit for purpose development under climate change, reflected on evaluating our models and systems under changing conditions. The Userdays concluded with a presentation and break-out session on the Web Operator Client that is currently under development. In an interactive break-out session, the community brainstormed about functional wishes and expectations of the Web OC.

During the events, the breaks and after the plenary sessions the community could interact with each other in a virtual Deltaplaza where also the Community Strategy Board was present for small talk or talking shop. On the second day of the event, the Delft-FEWS community selected the three modules for the upcoming Delft-FEWS advanced course. We very much enjoyed seeing our Delft-FEWS users again! We hope to see you all next year again, online or offline!