Waffle House: smothered, covered, and storm ready

How Waffle House can be a gauge of hurricane severity

Warner told CNN that Waffle House prepares for a storm's aftermath by having resources like generators, food, and staff at the ready outside (but close to) the impacted area so that it can reopen restaurants as soon as possible. In Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, an employee of a still-operating Waffle House told a reporter that during 2016's Hurricane Matthew, the location closed only after the ceiling tiles began to fall. "Because Waffle House is well-prepared for disasters... it's rare for the index to hit red".

For their part, Waffle House is glad that they can serve as a barometer of the severity of the storm for the community.

"Waffle House Index" has become a key part of storm preparedness: When a Waffle House closes in the face of an impending storm, that's when you really need to be anxious. If there were a Waffle House in London during The Blitz that bad boy would have been taking orders for steak and eggs in between bursts of anti-aircraft fire.

The chain, whose restaurants are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is famous for staying open during many natural disasters. "Plan ahead and be safe", they tweeted. Yes, FEMA uses an informal hurricane disaster measurement called the Waffle House index.

Former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate came up with the idea while leading Florida's emergency management agency, FEMA wrote.

That's right: One of the South's most popular breakfast chains plays an important role in hurricane forecasting. FEMA has since developed a color-coded system that is dependent on Waffle House's status.

As of noon Wednesday, Waffle House executives had made the decision to close eight of those restaurants that appear to be in the direct path of the hurricane. We call it red. Opened and serving a limited menu, that's yellow. "The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again - signaling a stronger recovery for that community", the FEMA blog says. "But our job [as corporate officials] is to give them all the support they need to stay open". From Titusville to Fort Pierce, Florida, every Waffle House was closed as operations became too hard to continue. You can't make this stuff up, and that's just a lot of pressure to put on a place that sells waffles.

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