Hurricane Michael is a storm that quickly exploded into almost a Category 5 just before it made landfall in Florida. There are certain things that take place in a city that indicate how severe a hurricane or another natural disaster is at the time. One of those indicators is when a Waffle House closes in the town that the storm is impacting. When the Waffle House in Panama City Beach posted a closed sign on the front door, residents in the city and people across the country following the storm knew that it was severe.
Waffle House is a restaurant that never closes and is one of the places where people in areas ravaged by storms go to get something to eat or to even use the bathroom when they are unable to at home. Managers of at least 30 Waffle Houses in Panama City and surrounding cities made the decision to shut the doors so that workers would be safe and to keep customers safe as well. Some of the 30 restaurants that closed were in Georgia as the hurricane made its way through there as well.
Managers waited until Thursday morning to examine restaurants to determine if there was any storm damage and to see if they could open any of the restaurants that were closed. One restaurant in Panama City sustained damage after a billboard fell on the building. Damage to the building includes lights dangling from the ceiling, broken windows, and areas of debris that had blown through the restaurant. When Hurricane Michael reached the shore of Florida, the storm was only two miles per hour from being a Category 5 storm. Residents and business owners had little time to prepare because the storm gained strength in only a few short days, exploding over 48 hours to one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the country.