25 Waffle Houses closed amid Hurricane Matthew — here's what that means about the storm

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There are a bunch of unusual ways you can track what's happening in the economy.

And one of the more popular informal measures is the so-called "The Waffle House Index" — an indicator that is actually unofficially used by FEMA.

Here's the gist of it: Waffle House restaurants notoriously stay open during natural disasters. So if the diner closes during an event, that suggests it was a really bad natural disaster with devastating effects on the economy. And on the flip side, if it stays open and serving a full menu, damage was relatively limited.

As a historical reference point: after 2011's Hurricane Irene, 22 Waffle Houses lost power in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Only one wasn't open by the Wednesday after the storm passed through — a particularly hard hit location in coastal Virginia.

"If you get [to a place where a disaster hit] and the Waffle House is closed? That's really bad," said FEMA administrator Craig Fugate back in 2011.

Learn more about this massive storm:

57 PHOTOS
Hurricane Matthew approaches islands south of the United States
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Hurricane Matthew approaches islands south of the United States
Hurricane Matthew is seen in the Caribbean Sea in this enhanced infrared image from NOAA's GOES-East satellite taken at 8:15am ET (12:15 GMT) October 4, 2016. NOAA/Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
A general view as Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A wave splashes on the beach at Siboney ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, Cuba, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Traffic moves slowly as heavy rains caused by the outer rain bands of Hurricane Matthew move into Kingston, Jamaica, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sinister-looking face of #HurricaneMatthew at landfall in #Haiti [Un-doctored #weather #satellite image] https://t.co/hrviDVuJ3R
A woman with two of her children rest on the floor at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A saleswoman shows lamps to a customers while other people flock to the supermarket to take care of last minute shopping as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Tourists from Canada and Russia enjoy the beach before the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Siboney, Cuba, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A woman protects herself from rain as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A dog crosses a road as heavy rains caused by the outer rain bands of Hurricane Matthew move into Kingston, Jamaica, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
Workers place plywood over the windows of a hotel in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A TV is left on the ground as it is transported to a shelter ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Siboney, Cuba, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People who were evacuated from their homes are seen in a room at a soccer stadium being used as a shelter while Hurricane Matthew approaches Kingston, Jamaica October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Boats are secured off as residents look on at Port Royal while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Workers load a tuck with flour to distribute an extra portion to local bakeries ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Vendors sell their goods on the street while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Members of a family warm themselves next to a fire while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Yosvan Anaya speaks to a friend (not pictured) in a cave in a cliff face to be used as a shelter ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Siboney, Cuba, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People queue as they flock to the supermarket to take care of last minute shopping as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Adolfo Leiva, who is self-employed, puts sandbags over the roof of his home ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A baby touches her mother's shoulder as they rest at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
People take their belongings to shelters prior to the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Siboney, Cuba, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People look out at the sea as hurricane Matthew approaches Kingston, Jamaica October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Vendors sell their goods on the street while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man looks out at the sea as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People who were evacuated from their homes are seen in a room at a soccer stadium being used as a shelter while Hurricane Matthew approaches Kingston, Jamaica October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
An interior view of Norman Manley International Airport is seen as it shuts down on Monday ahead of Hurricane Matthew, in Kingston, Jamaica October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A woman with two of her children rest on the floor at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Women rest at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A woman with two of her children rest on the floor at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A boy rests on the floor at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A girl rests on the floor at the a set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Workers load a tuck with flour to distribute an extra portion to local bakeries ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Fisherman Enrique Albelo, 48, ties his boat ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A man wets his feet in the sea as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A girl looks at anchored boats as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Two men look at anchored boats as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Inesia Laguerre cradles her grandchild at the shelter set up in the Lycee Philippe Guerrier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Vendors wait for clients on a street market while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Vendors sell their goods on a street market while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Vendors sell their goods at a street market while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People carry their goods along a street market while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People flock to the supermarket to take care of their last minute shopping as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Waves are seen as Hurricane Matthew approaches, in Kingston, Jamaica October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A boat is secured at Port Royal as Hurricane Matthew approaches, in Kingston, Jamaica October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Boats which are secured are seen near residents at Port Royal while Hurricane Matthew approaches, in Kingston, Jamaica October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Traffic moves slowly as heavy rains caused by the outer rain bands of Hurricane Matthew move into Kingston, Jamaica, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
Traffic moves slowly as heavy rains caused by the outer rain bands of Hurricane Matthew move into Kingston, Jamaica, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
A man carries a TV to a shelter prior to the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Siboney, Cuba, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A man drinks a beer outside a boarded up shop at Norman Manley airport as hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A man holds a bottle of water while people flock to the supermarket to take care of last minute shopping as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Workers cover the doors and windows at a hotel as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Kingston, Jamaica October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People stand in line for last minute shopping pending the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Kingston, Jamaica, October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
Jamaicans flock to the supermarkets to take care of last minute shopping pending the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Kingston, Jamaica, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
Jamaicans stand next to shopping carts filled with bottled water and other items outside a supermarket, pending the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Kingston, Jamaica, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
A man carries empty water containers while chatting with another man outside a supermarket, pending the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Kingston, Jamaica, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy
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As of Friday, 8:01 a.m. ET, Waffle House's official twitter account tweeted that 25 restaurants had been closed across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina amid Hurrice Matthew.

Waffle House had been planning to stay open during the height of the hurricane, which was expected to hit Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement on Thursday warning residents living in evacuation zones to leave immediately or risk death because of the impending hurricane.

"We're a 24-hour restaurant, so oddly enough shutting down is a big deal for us," Waffle House's Vice President of Culture Pat Warner told FoxNews.com on Thursday.

"When it comes to making the final decision, we let our operations team on the ground, like individual restaurant managers, make the final decision based on local conditions. But our job [as corporate officials] is to give them all the support they need to stay open."

Related: Also see Waffle Houses across the U.S.:

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Waffle House restaurants around the country
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Waffle House restaurants around the country
Fogged-up windows at a Waffel House in Arabi, Louisiana in St. Bernard Parish. (Photo by Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images)
ATLANTA - JULY 17: Waffle House signage on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 11: Fans line up for food at Waffle House, the newest restaurant vendor to open at Turner Field, before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins on August 11, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 24: The Waffle House restaurant chain in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is seen on Tuesday, January 24, 2006. Tobacco Road in central North Carolina, where the four biggest U.S. tobacco companies, including Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA, crank out more than 200 billion cigarettes a year, is getting its first smoke-free Waffle House restaurants. (Photo by Jim Stratford/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Customers pack a front counter at a Waffle House restaurant after spending two days cooped up due to an ice storm in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, February 13, 2014. A rare winter storm continued its grip on the U.S. South on Thursday, with over 300,00 people without power in Georgia as the storm moved up the east coast. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
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