Richard Branson opted to stay on his private Necker Island on Tuesday even though the 185-mph winds of category 5 Hurricane Irma tore through the British Virgin Islands throughout the night.
Luckily, Branson’s 32-year-old son Sam gave an update on Wednesday, informing fans and followers that “all humans on Necker are ok” amid the life-threatening Atlantic storm.
“Glad to say that all humans on Necker are ok although a lot of buildings destroyed. Very concerned for our friends and everyone on the neighbouring islands and people in its path,” Sam wrote on Instagram and Twitter, along with a photo of Irma.
“Please don’t take this hurricane lightly if it is heading your way. If your building is not very solid, do find somewhere safe! Homes can be rebuilt but lives can’t. Nature warning us again of the impact of #climatechange We must all do more to combat this,” he concluded.
The National Hurricane Center provided an update at 5 p.m. Wednesday with a statement: “The threat of direct hurricane impacts in Florida over the weekend and early next week has increased.”
It has recently been forecasted to modestly weaken in the next two days, but it will remain an extremely dangerous Category 4 or 5 storm.
Sam along with his father, who is the founder of Virgin and purchased Necker Island in 1979 for $180,000, had been seeking shelter in the wine cellar with about a dozen Virgin Group staff members.
“We are expecting to get the full force of the hurricane in around five hours’ time, when we will retreat to a concrete wine cellar under the Great House,” Branson wrote in a blog post on the Virgin website Wednesday.
Branson’s buildings on Necker Island are designed to withstand storms, using hurricane blinds that he says should be able to resist the extreme weather.
“The atmosphere is eerie but beautiful,” Branson continued in his blog. “Everyone is willing the eye of the storm to veer away from the BVI in these last few hours. As I wrote yesterday, our main concern is safety, for everyone here and for all the people in the BVI and in the path of the hurricane.”
Hurricane Irma has the potential to be one of the most powerful and intense Atlantic storms in history. Once it passes through the Virgin Islands, Irma is expected to hit Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, and make landfall in Florida by Sunday.