The Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model is the operational storm surge model of the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Previous studies have found that the SLOSH model estimates storm surges with an accuracy of ±20%. In this study, through hindcasts of historical storms, we assess the accuracy of the SLOSH model for four coastal regions in the Northeastern United States. We investigate the potential to improve this accuracy through modification of the wind field representation. We modify the surface background wind field, the parametric wind profile, and the maximum wind speed based on empirical, physical, and observational data. We find that on average the SLOSH model underestimates maximum storm surge heights by 22%. The modifications to the surface background wind field and the parametric wind profile have minor impacts; however, the effect of the modification to maximum wind speed is significant—it increases the variance in the SLOSH model estimates of maximum storm surges, but improves its accuracy overall. We recommend that observed values of maximum wind speed be used in SLOSH model simulations when possible.
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