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Richard Branson Chooses To Stay On His Caribbean Island Despite Hurricane Irma

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Richard Branson Chooses To Stay On His Caribbean Island Despite Hurricane Irma

The dust is yet to settle on the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas recently, and already another storm is threatening more lives across the world.

Hurricane Irma, dubbed the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history, has made landfall for the first time.

The category five hurricane (which is the highest possible category) has slammed into several Caribbean islands, where major damage and flooding is being reported.

A radio station in Guadeloupe released images of the damage caused, confirming that it's really not a safe place to be.

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Despite this, Richard Branson, who is currently on his private island in the Carribean, has decided to stay and face the huge storm, rather than seeking solitude elsewhere.

Time have reported that the buildings on the billionaire's Necker Island are built to withstand this sort of punishment, but is it really worth the risk?

Irma is packing wind gusts of up to 185mph (297km/h), so basically Branson is waiting to see whether something that's bigger than his island, and as fast as a Lamborghini Countach, can blow over a wall.

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"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 businessman said in a statement. "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."

The Telegraph claim that if things do go south he will choose to flee to his wine cellar.

Richard Branson's home on Necker Island. Credit: PA

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One person has already been reported to have died in Irma; a 16-year-old who tried to surf on the huge waves generated by the hurricane. Ines Ocampo reports the teen broke his neck after hitting his head on a shallow reef in Barbados.

French minister for overseas territories, Annick Girardin, is concerned the death may be the first of many, expressing fears "for a certain number of our compatriots who unfortunately didn't want to listen to the protection measures and go to more secure sites.

"We're preparing for the worst."

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As it approached land, scientists said they were picking up background noise from the storm on their earthquake-detecting seismometers. To illustrate just how big it was before it made landfall, weather reporter Simon King told BBC Breakfast that the storm was the size of France.

Florida's governor Rick Scott has declared an emergency for all 67 counties in the south-east state of America.

He said: 'Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared. I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Hurricane Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma's path - potentially impacting millions of Floridians."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Hurricane Irma, hurricane, Richard Branson

Mark McGowan
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