Waffle House stays open 24 hours a day, so when it closes, that's when you know a storm is very dangerous.

For most restaurants, closing for a hurricane is done without the blink of an eye. Waffle House's record for staying open has even the Federal Emergency Management agency unofficially analyzing the activity to know how severe a storm is. One closure is significant.

Major companies such as The Home Depot, Walmart and Waffle House serve as role models in disaster preparedness. Those stores and restaurants have good risk management plans to ensure that their stores continue to operate when a disaster strikes and provide basic supplies to people in their community.

The Waffle House test is:
- store is open and offering full menu, the index is green
- store is open but serving from a limited menu, it's yellow
- store has been forced to close, the index is red

It is rare for the index to hit red. This tells emergency officials how the community is handling the storm. The sooner restaurants, grocery stores, and banks re-open -- the sooner the local economy and recovery restart.

As of September 12, the Waffle House Storm Center is activated and monitoring Florence.