Hurricane Ian is approaching the West Coast of Florida as 150+ mph winds.
As the storm continues to strengthen and barrel its way through the Sunshine State, many businesses are taking action as Ian gears up to an almost Category 5 level hurricane.
Watch the latest updates on the storm in real time below:
One business that made an alarming decision to close its doors is Waffle House, which has historically been known to be a trusted indicator of just how bad a storm or natural disaster will be thanks to what’s been called the Waffle House Index.
The index has three levels — green (restaurants will operate as normal) yellow (restaurants will operate with limited power or menu offerings) and red (restaurants are to be closed.)
As of Wednesday afternoon, 21 Waffle House locations had been dubbed “red” up Florida’s West Coast.
The Waffle House index has often been viewed as the standard for determining the severity of a storm by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as locations are made to be equipped with food and emergency supplies in times of distress in order to serve the local communities in times of need.
“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “That’s where you go to work.”
Many on Twitter made note of the Waffle House closures and what that could mean for the Sunshine State as Ian continues to make its way towards land.
The six horsemen of an impending hurricane, in order of severity:
– Publix begins selling hurricane cakes
– Midwestern family starts checking in
– Disney closes
– Editor asks you to check out plywood supply at Home Depot
– Jim Cantore arrives
– Waffle House closes
— Kati Kokal (@katikokal) September 27, 2022
They’ve closed the Waffle Houses in the storm’s path.
If you didn’t take it seriously before, this is The Sign.
You still have time to go, folks.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) September 28, 2022
the key to hurricane panic is the following:
1. if Disney closes
2. if you go to the store to buy water, and even the Dasani is gone. if the dasani water is still there, even if all the others are gone, you’re fine.
3. if Waffle House closes
Anyone coming to the United States on vacation should be told at customs that if a local Waffle House closes down it’s a sign of a real serious emergency.
— devon sawa (@DevonESawa) September 28, 2022
Waffle House in Fort Myers just shut down. Shits about to get real
— Parker Slater (@parks_24) September 28, 2022
Waffle House has not yet made an official public statement on Ian but told USA Today that the company has been monitoring the storm’s path.
“We do have closures in mandatory evacuation zones and areas within low-lying areas that are subject to severe flooding,” Waffle House Vice President of Public Relations Njeri Boss told the outlet. “We constantly track storms during hurricane season, following their progress when there is an indication they might make landfall or deliver significant storm conditions.”
Entrepreneur has reached out to Waffle House for further information.
This is a developing story.