Science

Waffle House closures along Florida coast signal ominous storm

About two dozen Waffle House restaurants are closed throughout Florida, troubling for those who always look to the open chain as an unofficial gauge of how bad some natural disaster can get.

with Hurricane Ian Impacting the state, the 24-hour restaurant chain currently has 21 restaurants closed from Bradenton to Naples, a spokesperson told CBS Moneywatch in an email on Wednesday. “Those restaurants are located in the direct path of the storm, some are located in low-lying areas, in flood prone areas,” she said.

“We continue to monitor weather conditions, working closely with local government officials, emergency management teams and our local leadership in the field to make appropriate decisions based on the circumstances of each location,” the spokesperson said.

Waffle House has more than 1,900 locations in 25 states.


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Federal emergency officials have warned that Hurricane Ian could bring deadly tornadoes, heavy rain and winds. It made landfall near Cayo Costa, FloridaWednesday as a major Category 4 hurricane – the second strongest possible category according to the National Hurricane Center.

Known for its practice of rapidly reopening after a disaster hits, or remaining open to feed first responders in the midst of such incidents, Waffle House was also seen as a means of assessing damage to an area. goes.

“We’re very proud of the fact that this is something that gets used to,” a Waffle House spokesperson told a local CBS affiliate of the brand as an indicator of the severity of the storm. “More because it’s an outsized demonstration of our commitment to the communities we serve.”

As Craig Fugate, a former administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, explained in the past: “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? It’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

The so-called Waffle House index ranges from green to yellow to red, depending on whether the restaurants are open, closed or offer a limited menu.

“If Waffle House can serve a full menu, they can get electricity (or running a generator). A limited menu means one area may not have water or electricity, but bacon for stoves. , eggs and gas to make. Coffee: what really hungry, tired people need,” according to a 2017 FEMA blog post.

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