DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Richard Branson, the eccentric owner of Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines, is willingly riding out the historic storm along with his team on his private island in the Caribbean.
The British billionaire purchased Necker Island decades ago and tells the social media audience that this is not his first rodeo.
The 74-acre island lies directly in the path of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, already one for the weather history books — Branson noting that he’s weathered hurricanes on the island before, although none of this strength.
Irma has maintained 180-plus mile per hour winds for more than 24 hours.
Not only is the storm the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, north of the Caribbean Sea and east of the Gulf of Mexico, it is also the longest-lasting Category 5 storm in history in both the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Pacific Ocean, writes CBSMiami.com.
Branson’s Necker Island lies directly in the path of Hurricane Irma. He says they’ll duck into the concrete wine cellar as the hurricane nears the island, and if he knows his team as well as he thinks — there will be little wine left after the storm.
Forbes puts Branson’s net worth at about $5 billion — and lists him as the 324th wealthiest person in the world.
The United Nations says that according to estimates as many as 37 million people could be affected by Hurricane Irma.
The State Department ordered non-essential staff and the family members of American employees at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau to depart as Irma bore down with heavy rain and historic winds that could lead to life-threatening floods, mud slides and storm surges that could disrupt travel and government services reports The Associated Press.