Due to the devastating effects of recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico (e.g., Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav), the development of a high-resolution, real-time, total water level prototype system has been accelerated. The fully coupled model system that includes hydrology is an extension of the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System (ASGS), and will henceforth be referred to as ASGS-STORM (Scalable, Terrestrial, Ocean, River, Meteorological) to emphasize the major processes that are represented by the system.The ASGS-STORM system incorporates tides, waves, winds, rivers and surge to produce a total water level, which provides a holistic representation of coastal flooding. ASGS-STORM was rigorously tested during Hurricane Irene, which made landfall in late August 2011 in North Carolina. All results from ASGS-STORM for the advisories were produced in real-time, forced by forecast wind and pressure fields computed using a parametric tropical cyclone model, and made available via the web. Herein, a skill assessment, analyzing wind speed and direction, significant wave heights, and total water levels, is used to evaluate ASGS-STORM's performance during Irene for three advisories and the best track from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). ASGS-STORM showed slight over-prediction for two advisories (Advisory 23 and 25) due to the over-estimation of the storm intensity. However, ASGS-STORM shows notable skill in capturing total water levels, wind speed and direction, and significant wave heights in North Carolina when utilizing Advisory 28, which had a slight shift in the track but provided a more accurate estimation of the storm intensity, along with the best track from the NHC. Results from ASGS-STORM have shown that as the forecast of the advisories improves, so does the accuracy of the models used in the study; therefore, accurate input from the weather forecast is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to ensure the accuracy of the guidance provided by the system. While Irene provided a real-time test of the viability of a total water level system, the relatively insignificant freshwater discharges precludes definitive conclusions about the role of freshwater discharges on total water levels in estuarine zones. Now that the system has been developed, on-going work will examine storms (e.g., Floyd) for which the freshwater discharge played a more meaningful role.