How Waffle House Will Help Determine How Bad Florence Is

Why FEMA watches the Waffle House menu during hurricanes

Why FEMA watches the Waffle House menu during hurricanes

If the restaurant is open but only serving a limited menu, the index is yellow.

Waffle House is known for staying open as long as possible during a hurricane.

If you've ever traveled on a road trip across the eastern USA you've likely seen or stopped by a waffle house restaurant.

The company's emergency response plan was set up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed seven Waffle House restaurants and forced 100 more to close in 2005. In fact, the Waffle House is so hard to close down that FEMA uses a scale based on Waffle House closures to tell just how bad a hurricane and its aftermath actually are. But did you know they're also ranked by something called the Waffle House Index?

"If we are open quickly after the storm broke, that means the community is coming back and we are getting back to that sense of normalcy", Pat Warner, director or PR at Waffle House, said in an interview on CNN on Wednesday.

Waffle House tweeted Tuesday that its storm center was activated and monitoring Florence, but it was not clear which locations in the hurricane's path were expected to close. But if they're served at Waffle House, those hash browns are a key signal of how badly a hurricane has affected a community.

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A representative for Waffle House did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Hurricane Florence has been designated a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

A Waffle House on state highway 421 says they would be open through Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina. We have 250 restaurants, and we are monitoring resources so they can roll in right after the storm.

For years, FEMA has relied on major companies like Waffle House to see how hurricane recovery is doing.

"The Waffle Condo check staunch would now not recount us how rapid a trade would possibly well well per chance rebound - it also tells how the easier personnel is faring", FEMA talked about in a 2011 weblog publish when Craig Fugate was administrator. "You haven't found the bad stuff yet".

Here's hoping all the residents of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, have evacuated the city: Their Waffle House just hit Code Red.

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