By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
What sounds like a child sorting Halloween hard candies this year doubles as something a bit more important to state and federal disaster-management officials: the Waffle House Index for Hurricane Sandy.
Two Waffle Houses near Allentown, Pa., were closed, and two in Maryland were open but serving a limited menu, according to Waffle House spokesperson Kelly Thrasher. All were without electricity; the open ones had gas and water. At this time, all four restaurants are open on generator power, with fully restored power soon.
Thrasher summarized the Index: when an official phones a Waffle House and the restaurant is open and serving the full menu, the index is Green. When the restaurant is open but serving a limited menu, it's yellow. When it's closed, it's red.
Federal Emergency Management Administration head Craig Fugate devised the index after leading Florida's response to several hurricanes in the 2000s. Based on the 24-hour restaurant chain's hardy reputation and presence across the Southeast, it is an informal yet handy way to assess an area's post-calamity condition.
This allows officials to do quick disaster-relief triage: red areas need help first, and fast.