Hurricane Michael Forced Waffle House to Close 30 Restaurants

October 11, 2018, 1:35 PM UTC

Even in the face of natural disasters, Waffle Houses often stay open. But when faced with Hurricane Michael, the restaurant chain decided to close many of its locations.

Waffle House was forced to close 30 restaurants during Hurricane Michael, including 22 in Florida and eight in Georgia, a company spokesperson confirmed to USA Today. The company will evaluate any possible damage to those locations on Thursday and then decide when to reopen them, according to the report.

Waffle House has a slew of restaurants across the south. The company has long kept a policy of trying to stay open whenever possible in natural disasters and keeping restaurants open during cleanups. Waffle House often feeds first responders and is a leading indicator of just how badly an area is recovering following a natural disaster.

Hurricane Michael is one of the strongest storms to hit the Florida panhandle in years. It made landfall as a category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. It’s weakened to a tropical storm, but is still affecting areas in the southeast. It’s expected to pass over North Carolina and Virginia before it heads out to sea.

The damage costs incurred by Hurricane Michael could ring up in the billions, and cleanup efforts have already begun.