FEMA Uses "Waffle House Index" to Determine a Hurricane's Severity

September 1, 2011

The next time a hurricane hits your area, do as FEMA does and use the "Waffle House index" to determine the level of destruction. If your local Waffle House is serving the full menu and its lights are on, chances are the hurricane wasn't too destructive -- that's classified as Green. If it's serving a limited menu, that means the restaurant is likely getting power from a generator and food supplies are low, which FEMA classifies as Yellow. If the local Waffle House is closed, however, the area earns a Red distinction that indicates unsafe conditions and severe damage.

"If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That's really bad. That's where you go to work," said Craig Fugate, the FEMA administrator, to the Wall Street Journal. Of course, the Waffle House index is just one of the many metrics FEMA uses in its hurricane assessments, but it's by far the most savory one.

Image Sources: