Waffle House Index

It's Real

September 14, 2018

USA Today Images

Believe it or not, FEMA keeps track of how many Waffle Houses close during natural disasters.  It's called the Waffle House Index, and it's in use today to gauge how bad conditions are during Hurricane Florence.  For instance, if a Waffle House closes because of the storm, conditions are bad so that's known as red.  If the restaurant is open but with a limited menu, that's condition yellow.  The picture above was taken yesterday in Wilmington, NC.

According to The Economist, the index was invented by former FEMA director Craig Fugate after several hurricanes hit the east coast in 2004.  It was used in Joplin when 158 people were killed by the 2011 tornado.  Both of the Joplin Waffle Houses stayed open.