Yes, you should care about the Waffle House index


Have you heard of the Waffle House index? No, it isn’t the code word for the brand’s legendary smattered, smothered and covered.

Recently, Waffle House has been in the news, but it isn’t for its waffles. Have you heard of the Waffle House index? With Hurricane Florence taking aim on the East Coast, this real term is a real measure of hurricane disaster levels.

Waffle House is open 24 hours. Usually, people go to the iconic fast casual restaurant for waffles, hash browns and coffee in that classic, yellow mug. Throughout the South, Waffle House can be seen along highways and within cities. One of the things that people know is that Waffle House is normally open.

During hurricanes, Waffle House is often the measure of the hurricane’s damage. Yes, FEMA uses an informal hurricane disaster measurement called the Waffle House index. This measure can be used to understand the extent of the natural disaster and how much aid is immediately needed.

LONG BEACH,MS-OCTOBER 7, 2017: Waitresses serve customers inside a Waffle House that plans to stay open all night across the street from the Gulf of Mexico in Long Beach, Mississippi as Hurricane Nate approaches the northern Mississippi Gulf Coast October 7, 2017. Nate is expected to make landfall in the overnight hours as a category 2 storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

Waffle House is known for staying open as long as possible during a hurricane. Also, if a location closes due to a hurricane, it tries to re-open as soon as possible. The idea is that first responders as well as people who rode out the storm will need food and Waffle House wants to help.

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Since the brand is primarily in the South, it is accustomed to hurricanes and the dangers that this weather system has to the area. But, it is known for getting back up and running as quickly as possible. The three level index indicates both the potential damage in the area and when regular services could be back up and running.

While this index seems unusual, it makes the dangers of a hurricane real. So many people don’t respect the power and destruction of a hurricane. If a closed Waffle House encourages people to take shelter, bring on the Waffle House Index.

Having lived through two hurricanes in the past two years, these types of storms should not be taken lightly. While some people might choose to stock their homes with hurricane preparedness items, it is always best to listen to officials and the recommendations to evacuate (even if Waffle House is still open). Sometimes the biggest danger isn’t to the people riding out the storm, but rather the first responders going out to check on those people.

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To all the people in Hurricane Florence’s path, please stay safe. Listen to the news and see if it mentions the Waffle House Index. Yes, it is a real (although not scientific) measure of the hurricane’s impact.