This Billionaire Isn't Moving for Irma

Richard Branson has weathered 3 hurricanes on his private island
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2017 7:12 AM CDT

With the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded battering the Caribbean, Business Insider reports that at least one billionaire is staying put. As Irma was closing in on Tuesday, Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson declared he would hunker down on his private island, the Telegraph reports. "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," Branson writes on his blog. The thrill-seeking exec notes, per the Mirror, that while past hurricanes have skirted the British Virgin Islands, "this one is coming straight for us, with the eye of the storm heading straight for Necker." But other "lovely guests" staying on the island west of Puerto Rico weren't so bold, he says, bailing before the Category 5 storm hit.

Another group postponed their visit to the Balinese-style resort, where several houses sleeping up to 34 people rent for $80,000 a night, per the Telegraph. Necker's "really strong" buildings with hurricane blinds "should be able to handle extreme weather pretty well," Branson writes, while urging less well-off islanders to prepare ahead of 185mph winds and not shrug off emergency shelters. Noting the devastating toll wrought by Harvey, Branson calls climate change "a key factor in the increasing intensity" of the latest storms. "If Irma is any indication, we must brace ourselves for more of these catastrophic weather events." He adds, "How much cheaper and smarter to support the Paris Agreement and move to clean energy?" (Irma is so strong that earthquake detectors are going off.)

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