Monday, 19 November, 2018

You'll know hurricane is bad when Waffle House Index hits red

A Waffle House Modal Trigger Getty Images
Priscilla Morrison | 16 September, 2018, 00:49

As Hurricane Florence, a Category 3 storm, drives toward the East Coast, Waffle House is monitoring the impending risky weather by activating its storm center. When a storm is completely devastating, Waffle House will close, usually because the building has been destroyed. Over 700 Starbucks locations were forced to close in Florida and Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Irma past year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will monitor the Waffle House Index throughout Hurricane Florence, a practice the government agency follows when disasters occur to gage how bad a storm could get.

The Georgia-based chain is known for its 365-day, 24-hour service, and the company has teams of response units that can be deployed, with Waffle House trucks, vans, and generators, should a restaurant choose to stay open in adverse conditions.

"They are open most of the time", former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said in a 2016 interview with NPR. Here's how it works. If a Waffle House restaurant is open and serving its entire menu, the map shows a green location. If they're offering a limited menu, it's yellow.

Waffle House has always been a popular spot for round-the-clock comfort food for locals and travelers alike throughout the South. The storm destroyed seven Waffle Houses, and the closures led management to revamp the company's disaster preparedness efforts.

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The Waffle House Storm Center is actively monitoring Hurricane Florence, an indicator that parts of the East Coast are in serious danger. EHS Today explains that the Waffle House Index runs on a color-coded system.

At least one restaurant in Myrtle Beach went dark a few days before the storm, and now has a sign saying it will reopen when Florence passes, WMBF reported.

Waffle House is used as an example of how quickly a business, and therefore a community, may recover from a storm. "They have temporary warehouses where they can store food and most importantly, they know they can operate without a full menu". "The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again - signaling a strong recovery for that community". From Titusville to Fort Pierce, Florida, every Waffle House was closed as operations became too hard to continue.

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