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Waffle House. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Waffle Houses throughout the South are being used to determine the damage and stability of communities in North and South Carolina as the state rides out Hurricane Florence.

How it works: The Federal Emergency Management Agency uses the "Waffle House Index" to determine if an establishment is offering a full menu. According to FEMA, "If a Waffle House can serve a full menu, they’ve likely got power (or are running on a generator). A limited menu means an area may not have running water or electricity, but there’s gas for the stove to make bacon, eggs, and coffee: exactly what hungry, weary people need."

Why it matters: Businesses like Waffle House give people a place to go for normalcy in the midst of chaos, writes FEMA. "For small towns, places like coffee shops and local restaurants are often the local hubs of activity."

They also can give people a place to stay if they've lost power. In the midst of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, a Waffle House in Wilmington is taking people in who have nowhere to go — even without ID cards, reports the LA Times.

A Waffle House employee told the Times "we're not closing unless it gets unsafe." And the establishment is open 24 hours every day of the year.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.

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