Accurate, real-time forecasting of coastal inundation due to hurricanes and tropical storms is a challenging computational problem requiring high-fidelity forward models of currents and water levels driven by hurricane-force winds. Despite best efforts in computational modeling there will always be uncertainty in storm surge forecasts. In recent years, there has been significant instrumentation located along the coastal United States for the purpose of collecting data—specifically wind, water levels, and wave heights—during these extreme events. This type of data, if available in real time, could be used in a data assimilation framework to improve hurricane storm surge forecasts. In this paper a data assimilation methodology for storm surge forecasting based on the use of ensemble Kalman filters and the advanced circulation (ADCIRC) storm surge model is described. The singular evolutive interpolated Kalman (SEIK) filter has been shown to be effective at producing accurate results for ocean models using small ensemble sizes initialized by an empirical orthogonal function analysis. The SEIK filter is applied to the ADCIRC model to improve storm surge forecasting, particularly in capturing maximum water levels (high water marks) and the timing of the surge. Two test cases of data obtained from hindcast studies of Hurricanes Ike and Katrina are presented. It is shown that a modified SEIK filter with an inflation factor improves the accuracy of coarse-resolution forecasts of storm surge resulting from hurricanes. Furthermore, the SEIK filter requires only modest computational resources to obtain more accurate forecasts of storm surge in a constrained time window where forecasters must interact with emergency responders.