Cypress-area Waffle House remains open despite winter weather

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- Severe winter weather has created a power emergency across the state. With unprecedented demand, Center Point Energy is warning of rolling blackouts across the Houston area.

Despite the outages, it's business as usual in some places.

ABC13 reporter Charly Edsitty visited a northwest Harris County Waffle House whose employees said they will remain open for the community.

"I had to come into work because of the weather. It's just been slow and dead," Waffle House Manager Yusef Onotosho said. "We barely had customers in here all night, but we know that we are just going to be there for the neighborhood. Whether they are going to come out to have breakfast or not, we are here."

The employees said they plan to carefully make their way home once they get off their shifts.

Waffle House serves as an unlikely ally to gauge the impact of natural disasters across the south.

FEMA looks to private-sector partners like Waffle House to determine how businesses are faring in the impacted areas. If Waffle House restaurants (which are normally open 24/7) are forced to suspend operations in a disaster zone, that's a good sign that the community could require more robust disaster relief services.

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During a severe weather event, FEMA coordinates with Waffle House and other businesses to gauge how communities impacted by disasters are recovering.

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