What is the "Waffle House Index?"

Hurricane Florence: Waffle House Index prepared for storm

Waffle House is stepping into action ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Just as in previous storms and severe weather, the restaurant chain typically remains open. The latest hurricane is no different.

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“The ⁦@WaffleHouse⁩ Storm Center is activated and monitoring #Florence,” the restaurant tweeted Monday. “Plan ahead and be safe.”


And the WaHo Storm Center is real, according to Waffle House. The photo was taken at the Norcross, Georgia, -based chain’s corporate office.

Related: Hurricane Florence: Download these apps for finding gas, hotel rooms, help

It’s such a noticeable trend that the Federal Emergency Management Agency unofficially has a Waffle House Index, in which locations are monitored based on menu offerings and whether a restaurant is open. 

The Waffle House Index is used by FEMA to determine damage in neighborhoods after severe weather. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty Images

“The index itself isn’t just about whether or not you can get pralines on your waffles or if you can get waffles at all, but rather about the damage in a neighborhood,” FEMA communications specialist Jessica Stapf wrote in 2017.

The Waffle House Index has the following indicators:

  • green index means a Waffle House is open and offering a full menu.
  • yellow index means a Waffle House is open, but offering a limited menu.
  • red index means a Waffle House has been forced to close.

Red indexes are rare, and indicate very severe weather.