PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – UPDATE: Waffle House reopened two days after Hurricane Michael tore through Panama City.
As Category 4 Hurricane Michael bears down on the Florida Panhandle, the Waffle House in Panama City Beach isn't taking any chances.
The restaurant, which is typically open 24 hours a day, decided to close its doors. That's worth noting because whether the restaurant stays open is a good measure of how severe a storm is.
Channel 4 reporter Vic Micolucci is in Panama City Beach and is flabbergasted at the news.
"Waffle House is usually our last hurrah to get a warm meal, with protein and of course sugar, and friendly service," Vic said. "We’ve spent many storm at this refuge. We saw 4 in PCB closed. That’s a sign that this is serious. Some were boarded up. Others weren't. I’m ready for my hash browns!”
In the past, federal officials have use the Waffle House as a measure to gauge storm severity. They call it the Waffle House Index.
"The Waffle House test just doesn't tell us how quickly a business might rebound — it also tells how the larger community is faring," said a FEMA blog post from 2011. "The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again — signaling a strong recovery for that community."
The restaurant is located on Highway 30-A across from the Panama City Beach Police station.
We will let you know when it reopens.