It’s called “the Waffle House Index” and it has three colors, like a stop light (green, yellow and red) − and, reportedly, it’s yet another way the Federal Emergency Management Agency tracks approaching storms and other emergencies.
Basically, according to Marketplace’s Elly Yu, because many Waffle House locations are in states vulnerable to hurricanes and other tornadoes, and because WaHo “prides itself” on being open all of the time, FEMA realized that things must be getting really bad if it acquiesces to the weather.
“It just doesn’t happen where Waffle House is normally shut down,” Philip Strouse, FEMA’s private sector liaison for the Southeast, told Markeplace in 2015. “… They’re the canary in the coalmine, if you will.”
The Waffle House is more than just America’s favorite late night snack shack for the insanely drunk, it’s a government informant tasked with delivering critical information to FEMA about the severity of these natural disasters this country keeps taking on the chin. Long story short. The Waffle House is a national hero.