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Make way, Waffle House Index, another restaurant turned disaster tracker, has arrived on the scene.

Texans who have experienced massive power outages and property damage in the wake of Hurricane Beryl are desperate for updates from utility company CenterPoint Energy, which has been battling more than 2 million power outages since Monday.

But the utility's outage map has been out of service since the derecho hit the area in May, Houston Landing reported.

The lack of communication has led some Texans to turn away from official updates from the utility company and instead rely on a familiar name: Whataburger.

CenterPoint customers who feel left in the dark are using the burger chain's app to get information about power outages in their area. More specifically, they're looking at the chain's location map, which is color-coded. The classic “W” logo shows orange when the restaurant is open and gray when it's closed — in this case, likely due to a power outage.

A particularly observant Houstonian posted this discovery on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon it had received more than 7 million views and 24,000 likes.

“The Whataburger app works as a power outage tracker, which is handy since the power company doesn't display a map,” said user @BBQBryan, who posted a screenshot of the location tool in the Whataburger app.

In fact, the map zoomed in on the Houston area showed a handful of grayed out icons and a handful of orange ones. Whataburger told USA TODAY that the app will be updated in real time as restaurants reopen.

Map of power outages in Texas: Beryl leaves millions without power and moves on to Mississippi

“We are pleased that the Whataburger app has helped Houstonians find where power is available in the city,” Ed Nelson, president and CEO of Whataburger, said in a statement to USA TODAY.

“Remember that the app should only be used as a general overview of power availability,” Nelson continued. “We encourage residents to call local power companies to see if they are open and operating. Everyone, please stay safe when you leave your homes.”

USA TODAY has contacted CenterPoint for comment.

Map of power outages in Texas

Over 2 million people without power after beryl weather in Texas

In a post on X, CenterPoint said it had deployed 12,000 field workers to restore power to the 1 million customers who were still without service as of Wednesday evening.

Another contribution, shared by Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado estimated on Monday that more than 2.2 million customers were initially without power. In the comments below, some reported being unable to reach CenterPoint by phone, while similarly disgruntled customers commented in the comments below CenterPoint's own contributions.

Many said they were unable to get updates on the status of their service by phone, email or website. Others pointed out that the outage map often goes down during major incidents, leaving them frustrated and causing them to resort to other resources like word of mouth and, well, Whataburger.

As of Tuesday afternoon, an outage map was still not available on the CenterPoint website. Shortly after 4 p.m. ET, a live counter on the website reported that about 1.6 million customers were affected by outages and 849,518 customers had had their service restored.

The company noted that phone wait times were longer than usual and recommended signing up for the emergency alert system to stay updated.

Of the 165 Whataburger stores in the greater Houston area, about half are open and operating, Whataburger told USA TODAY on Tuesday afternoon.

Almost all of the Texas branches that were still closed at the time were concentrated in the Houston area, but social media users reported that some branches that appeared to be “open” on the map were closed or operating with limited service despite appearing to have power.

Beryl was the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record, sweeping through the Caribbean last week before hitting the Texas coast early Monday. Although it had already weakened to a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reached the U.S., the storm still caused massive flooding that trapped people in their homes and cars, knocked out power during a dangerous heatwave, and killed at least eight people in Texas and Louisiana.

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