If the nonstop news coverage of Hurricane Matthew wasn’t enough to scare East Coast residents into leaving their homes, another indicator of the storm’s potentially catastrophic strength became clear when Waffle House closed down all of their restaurants along I-95 between Fort Pierce and Titusville, Florida.
The iconic establishment posted the following message on their Twitter account, “All Waffle House restaurants on 1-95 between Titusville, FL and Fort Pierce, FL are closed. Stay safe Waffle Nation! #HurricaneMatthew”
This is a big move for the 24-hour eatery, which rarely closes their restaurants.
The restaurant’s Twitter followers were quick to react.
According to the Washington Post, the Waffle House Index is a real thing used by government officials to monitor the seriousness of natural disasters.
In the early days of the Obama administration, when Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate was asked how FEMA decides to set up shop after a disaster, he cracked: ‘If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.’
The company, which has over 1,500 restaurants, has several measures in place to determine what they will need in the case of a natural disaster. Waffle House even has a post-hurricane handbook to give instructions on what to do in certain scenarios (i.e. having a generator, but no ice) and a mobile command center called the EM-50.
So the next time you see a Waffle House closed for a natural disaster, you’ll know that they don’t play around so neither should you.