If You Live in the South and Have Lived Through a Historic Weather Phenomenon You Know About the Waffle House Index.

I first heard about the Waffle House Index when I experienced my first snowfall in Shreveport-Bossier. Were we really going to base how safe we felt off of a popular breakfast joint? Yes, we sure did.

Eric Thayer, Stringer, Getty Images
Eric Thayer, Stringer, Getty Images

What is the Waffle House Index?

There are three levels to the Waffle House Index. Green, Yellow, and Red. Pretty simple right?

Green means there is a full menu and the restaurant has power and if there is damage to the building, it's very limited. Yellow means there is a limited menu and there may be no power or only power from a generator also food supplies may be low. Red means the restaurant is closed which indicates severe damage or severe flooding.

We First Heard About the "Waffle House Index" in 2011.

FEMA  Administrator Craig Fugate coined the phrase following the 2011 Joplin tornado. Yes, two of the Waffle House restaurants in Joplin remained open. The Joplin tornado was a devastating EF5-rated multiple-vortex tornado.

So basically a Waffle House will stay open during extreme weather, and if it does close, it will reopen before anyone else.

Why Is the Waffle House Index Trending?

With Hurricane Ian bearing down and turning Florida upside down the Waffle House Index is now trending with people in Florida checking to see if certain Waffle Houses are open or not. Is it yellow? Most Waffle Houses in the Fort Myers area are in a Red zone right now.


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