Abstract The unprecedented progress in ensemble hydro‐meteorological modelling and forecasting on a range of temporal and spatial scales, raises a variety of new challenges which formed the theme of the Joint Virtual Workshop, ‘Connecting global to local hydrological modelling and forecasting: challenges and scientific advances’. Held from 29 June to 1 July 2021, this workshop was co‐organised by the European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the Copernicus Emergency Management (CEMS) and Climate Change (C3S) Services, the Hydrological Ensemble Prediction EXperiment (HEPEX), and the Global Flood Partnership (GFP). This article aims to summarise the state‐of‐the‐art presented at the workshop and provide an early career perspective. Recent advances in hydrological modelling and forecasting, reflections on the use of forecasts for decision‐making across scales, and means to minimise new barriers to communication in the virtual format are also discussed. Thematic foci of the workshop included hydrological model development and skill assessment, uncertainty communication, forecasts for early action, co‐production of services and incorporation of local knowledge, Earth observation, and data assimilation. Connecting hydrological services to societal needs and local decision‐making through effective communication, capacity‐building and co‐production was identified as critical. Multidisciplinary collaborations emerged as crucial to effectively bring newly developed tools to practice.