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The Norcross, Georgia-based chain keeps nearly every one of its 2,100 locations open 24/7, no matter what the weather forecast says.

The major restaurant chain has activated a storm center to keep an eye on Hurricane Florence. Because of the company's close watch on natural disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dubbed the term the "Waffle House Index" as a means of determining the effect of a storm on an area.

But here's your sign of just how bad Florence could be - a reporter at the Myrtle Beach NBC station posted on Facebook that Hurricane Florence - still miles away - was powerful enough to shut down the local Waffle House ahead of the storm. We don't know what that means, honestly, and with the way this hurricane is acting - tremendously big and tremendously wet and tremendously unpredictable - it feels pretty par for the course.

Waffle House's Vice President of Culture Pat Warner told Fox News in 2016 that while the chain does everything in its power to stay open, their "number one priority is the safety of our staff on the ground and our customers".

Fugate stepped down in January 2017 and was replaced by Brock Long, but the Waffle House Index remains.

For meteorologists, Florence is a horrific nightmare storm
Evacuations have begun for people who live in the path of the hurricane which is expected to last a few days. Despite all the warnings from numerous authorities, some residents say are planning to ride out the storm.

Warner said the restaurants along the Carolina coast impacted by Hurricane Florence are gathering resources, so they can open as soon as the storm is finished.

Hurricane Florence has been designated a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. We call it red. "Within the occasion that they're originate however luxuriate in a restricted menu, that is yellow", he talked about. "You haven't found the bad stuff yet", Fugate said on NPR.

"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. Since Waffle House is so prepared for disasters, the index doesn't turn red very often.

"The Waffle House test doesn't just tell us how quickly a business might rebound - it also tells us how the larger community is faring", Stoneking wrote. The logic goes that the sooner a Waffle House can get back on the grid, any number of local institutions including banks, grocery stores, and post offices can start functioning again.