If you've ever traveled on a road trip across the eastern US you've likely seen or stopped by a waffle house restaurant.
Because they're open 24 hours a day, closing a Waffle House restaurant is a big deal.
It's well-known among southerners that if the 24/7/365 restaurants ever close, real danger is afoot, and in advance of Hurricane Florence's landfall, at least two locations - in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Morehead, North Carolina - have closed. The team also asked people to "plan ahead and be safe".
CBS46 News got a tour inside the Waffle House "war room" Wednesday.
You may be wondering why in the world is Waffle House in the disaster management business?
Because the restaurant has an active storm center monitor, federal officials use the Waffle House as a way to measure the severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other local storms after they hit. If the index is green, the Waffle House is open and serving from its full menu, whether customers want the pecan waffle or the fiesta omelet. If the index is red, it means you can start panicking because the Waffle House location has been forced to close its doors.
Hurricane Florence has been designated a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. Check out the color-coded index. In Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, an employee of a still-operating Waffle House told a reporter that during 2016's Hurricane Matthew, the location closed only after the ceiling tiles began to fall.
As Hurricane Florence approaches, restaurants in North and SC are watching the weather to determine whether or not they will stay open. If the restaurant has a limited menu, often meaning the freezer is out, it's labeled yellow. We call it red. They're not going to let a little Biblically strong wind stop them from slinging hash browns. "That's really bad. That's where you go to work", then FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said.
"If we are open quickly after the storm, that means the community is coming back and folks are out, we are getting back to that sense of normalcy", Waffle House spokesperson Pat Warner told CNN. The sooner restaurants, grocery stores, and banks re-open - the sooner the local economy and recovery restart.