How Waffle House Will Help Determine How Bad Florence Is

FEMA looks to Waffle House as Hurricane Florence approaches

A closed Waffle House restaurant is seen on Sept. 13 in Myrtle Beach S.C

Fugate stepped down in January 2017 and was replaced by Brock Long, but the Waffle House Index remains. You can't make this stuff up, and that's just a lot of pressure to put on a place that sells waffles.

The Waffle House has activated a storm center to keep an eye on Hurricane Florence.

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

If Waffle House is open and serving its full menu, the index is green.

"We do that through pretty much all storms unless the building is damaged", said Waffle House's Pat Warner.

Waffle House said on Twitter that its "Storm Center" was monitoring Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit the coast between North Carolina and SC late Thursday or early Friday and could impact 230 of its restaurants.

"The Waffle House test just doesn't tell us how quickly a business might rebound - it also tells how the larger community is faring", FEMA said in a 2011 blog post.

Hurricane Matthew's devastation in 2016 was one of the few times in restaurant history that Waffle House issued a widespread shutdown of locations. If you don't believe that, let me introduce the Waffle House Storm Center into evidence.

FOX 5's Will Nunley who has been on the coast covering the storm got a first-hand look Wednesday about the Waffle House's "Go Teams" that are trained to prepare food in a variety of conditions during a disaster. FEMA has since developed a color-coded system that is dependent on Waffle House's status. The sooner restaurants, grocery stores, and banks re-open - the sooner the local economy and recovery restart. The company's goal is to reopen its stores as quickly as possible after a storm passes. On Wednesday, Nia Watson, a local news reporter for WMBF, tweeted that the Myrtle Beach Waffle House had closed for the storm.

As the monstrosity that's Hurricane Florence moves closer to the Carolinas, the Waffle House is joining the list of agencies and businesses tracking the storm's every twist and turn. "After a storm, they're really looking to us to be there to help them out because they're used to us being there the rest of the year".

During hurricanes, Waffle House is often the measure of the hurricane's damage. If the franchise is open but serving a limited menu, the index shows a yellow location.

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