Here's your sign: Waffle House closed until after Florence

Go inside Waffle House disaster center

Go inside Waffle House disaster center

And Waffle House makes sense, because they're largely located in the hurricane-vulnerable South.

The chain, whose restaurants are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is famous for staying open during many natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will monitor the Waffle House Index throughout Hurricane Florence, a practice the government agency follows when disasters occur to gage how bad a storm could get.

Tuesday, Waffle House announced its Storm Center was active and monitoring Florence.

The company has a fleet of response units, complete with Waffle House-branded trucks and vans, that transport generators, communication technology and other items that can help local stores reboot quickly during most emergency situations.

As of noon Wednesday, Waffle House executives had made the decision to close eight of those restaurants that appear to be in the direct path of the hurricane. But did you know they're also ranked by something called the Waffle House Index?

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This so-called "Waffle House Index" was created by former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. And it's rare for the index to turn red.

Hurricane Florence has been designated a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

The "Waffle House Index" isn't as well known as some of your favorite rhymes, but it is fairly reliable. "But our job [as corporate officials] is to give them all the support they need to stay open". On Wednesday, Nia Watson, a local news reporter for WMBF, tweeted that the Myrtle Beach Waffle House had closed for the storm.

"They know immediately which stores are going to be affected and they call their employees to know who can show up and who cannot", Panos Kouvelis, Ph.D., the Emerson Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management and director of the Olin's Boeing Center for Technology, Information and Manufacturing, explained to EHS Today.

For years, FEMA has relied on major companies like Waffle House to see how hurricane recovery is doing. "The sooner intelligent areas, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-originate, the sooner native economies will originate up producing income all all over again - signaling a sturdy restoration for that personnel."In a 2016 interview with NPR, Fugate described how FEMA applied the Waffle Condo check".

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