How Bad Was the Storm? Check the Waffle House

If it's closed, it was very bad
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2011 3:44 PM CDT
How Bad Was the Storm? Check the Waffle House
In this 2005 file photo, a Waffle House restaurant lies in ruins along the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – FEMA thinks of it as the "Waffle House Index"—an unscientific but reliable guide to the severity of a storm along the coast. If a store is serving a full menu, that's a good sign for the area, explains the Wall Street Journal. A limited menu, suggesting that the store is relying on generators, is more worrisome. "If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?" FEMA chief Craig Fugate has said. "That's really bad. That's where you go to work."

The reason is that the chain, which operates from the mid-Atlantic to Florida and the Gulf Coast, has made a name for itself by reopening quickly after hurricanes and other disasters. It even has a mobile command center—an RV that heads into trouble zones to help coordinate a fast recovery—along with detailed guide for stores on how to go about business under dire circumstances. (Read more Waffle House stories.)

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