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Sir Richard Branson has said he will ride out the potentially deadly winds of Hurricane Irma on his private island in the Caribbean.
The British billionaire revealed in his online blog that he would be staying on the island of Necker, which he owns, despite warnings from officials of a “potentially catastrophic” impact.
He posted pictures of furniture stacked up and hurricane blinds down on his luxury home as he braces for the Category Five storm.
Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm to ever form in the Atlantic Ocean, has already begun to batter the Caribbean islands with winds of around 200mph expected over the coming days.
Sir Richard said that hurricanes approach the island about every ten years, but that most drift north.
He posted: “On Necker Island we have constructed really strong buildings (with hurricane blinds) that should be able to handle extreme weather pretty well, though with a Category Five hurricane almost nothing can withstand it.
“We had some lovely guests staying on Necker Island who have cut their trip short for safety reasons, and another group of guests have also postponed.”
The business tycoon added: “I will be on Necker alongside our team, as I have been on the three times we have had hurricanes over the past 30 years.”
On Wednesday morning, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean, beginning to churn towards Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.
Officials in Antigua warned residents to shelter from the “onslaught” of the storm, with reports of debris flying through streets as the storm hit.
Sir Richard said he would hole himself up on his private island while the storm passes, but urged fellow residents in the British Virgin Islands to take shelter.
He also issued a stark warning about climate change, saying such storms are a reminder people are “not doing enough” to tackle the issue.
Sir Richard added: “Man-made climate change is a key factor in the increasing intensity of these hurricanes, as many experts have suggested.
“The damage caused by [Hurricane] Harvey all over Texas is a tragic and costly reminder that our climate is changing and that we are not doing enough to tackle this enormous challenge.”
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