The Waffle House Hurricane Scale is a term used by some emergency management officials to gauge the severity of a hurricane or other natural disaster. It is not an official scale used by the National Hurricane Center or other official weather agencies, but rather a informal measure that some officials have found to be useful in determining the level of damage and disruption that may occur in the wake of a hurricane.
The scale is based on the status of Waffle House restaurants in the affected area. Waffle House is known for being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and for rarely closing even in the face of extreme weather or other disruptions. As a result, if a Waffle House restaurant is closed or operating on a limited menu due to a hurricane, it can be an indication of the severity of the storm and the level of disruption it has caused.
The Waffle House Hurricane Scale has four levels:
- Green: The restaurant is open and serving a full menu, indicating that the area is relatively safe and the storm has not caused significant damage or disruption.
- Yellow: The restaurant is open, but serving a limited menu, indicating that the area may be experiencing power outages or other disruptions, but is generally safe.
- Red: The restaurant is closed, indicating that the area has sustained significant damage or is otherwise unsafe for travel.
- Gray: The restaurant is closed, but only because it is out of power or water. This may be a temporary condition and may not necessarily indicate significant damage or danger.
The Waffle House Hurricane Scale is not an official measure and should not be relied upon as the sole indicator of a storm's severity or the level of danger it poses. However, some emergency management officials have found it to be a useful tool in determining the extent of a disaster and prioritizing response efforts.