Belfast Telegraph

Sir Richard Branson riding out Hurricane Irma on his private island

The billionaire has previously experienced three hurricanes on his Caribbean retreat.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson is bracing for Hurricane Irma on his tropical island paradise.

The British billionaire will ride out the storm on his private Caribbean island, Necker, even though guests recently cut a trip to the retreat short and other visitors have postponed a break, fearing the Category 5 hurricane could ravage the place.

"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," Branson writes in a statement on the Virgin Group website. "I will be on Necker alongside our team."

Branson goes on to reveal he has been at home on his island for the three storms that have hit Necker in the past three decades.

He insists the island's buildings are "really strong" and "should be able to handle extreme weather pretty well".

But he's not taking any chances and urges his fellow British Virgin Islanders to be prepared for a battering.

"Whatever happens, keep inside, away from the ocean and away from flying debris," he wrote.

As the storm bears down on the Caribbean and Florida, Branson also has the victims of last month's (Aug17) dreadful Hurricane Harvey at the front of his mind.

The Category 4 storm devastated parts of Houston and Louisiana, claiming the lives of an estimated 60 people.

"If Irma is any indication, we must brace ourselves for more of these catastrophic weather events," Branson adds.

Meanwhile, Florida locals are bracing themselves for what they fear will be their worst storm in 25 years.

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