FEMA trusts the 'Waffle House Index' to predict severity of hurricane, and the restaurant chain has activated a storm center

For generations, weather lore has been passed down through oral history and in the trusted almanac to help predict future circumstances. If there is a halo ’round the sun or moon, then we can all expect rain or snow quite soon. If salt clogs in your shaker, the weather will favor the umbrella maker. If you find a “closed sign” on a Waffle House, it’s best to evacuate and don’t forget your spouse.

The “Waffle House Index” isn’t as well known as some of your favorite rhymes, but it is fairly reliable.

In fact, Waffle House Index is so reliable that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) looks to it when a hurricane or another natural disaster is on the way.

According to FEMA, Craig Fugate, its former administrator, came up with the Index. He told National Public Radio in 2016: “They are open most of the time. And that was the index. If a Waffle House is closed because there’s a disaster, it’s bad. We call it red. If they’re open but have a limited menu, that’s yellow. If they’re green, we’re good, keep going.”

The restaurant chain appears to be taking the job seriously, activating its own storm center as Hurricane Florence approaches.

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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. However, the company’s Vice President of Culture Pat Warner told Fox News in 2016 that its employees’ safety is always its No. 1 priority, and it will let individual managers on the ground decide if a restaurant stays or open or not.

Whoever is running the restaurant’s social media doesn’t appear to be afraid of Hurricane Florence, however.

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Waffle House is used as an example of how quickly a business, and therefore a community, may recover from a storm. “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. “The success of the private sector in preparing for and weathering disasters is essential to a community’s ability to recover in the long run.”

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Heed your local Waffle House warning and evacuate.

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