SA coronavirus lockdown forces cancer patient to cut short bucket list holiday in tropical Queensland

A South Australian woman and her terminally ill mother have been forced to abandon their bucket list holiday in Far North Queensland after the latest coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide.

Bo Duncan and her mother Deb Duncan, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, arrived in Cairns on Sunday with the aim of going snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

But by Monday morning, South Australian health authorities had confirmed significant community transmission of COVID-19.

South Australia will go into a strict lockdown from Thursday that will see all schools, pubs, cafes and takeaway food outlets close for six days.

On Monday night — only a day after arriving in Cairns — the Duncans received a text from Queensland Health instructing them to get a COVID-19 test and to quarantine for 14 days.

“Straight away we were in the mode of trying to get home, but how are you supposed to get home if you’re supposed to be in quarantine for two weeks?” Ms Duncan said.

Deb Duncan was desperate to get home before Monday, when she is due to receive the next dose of a drug as part of a clinical trial to treat her cancer.

Bo Duncan said she spent hours on the phone, trying to reach Queensland Health for advice on what to do.

“Mum got a note from her oncologist saying that she had to be returned [home] immediately but we couldn’t get hold of anyone to find out what was going on,” Bo Duncan said.

Both women were tested for coronavirus on Tuesday and returned negative results, but the clinician who took the test told them to return to their hotel and quarantine.

Great Barrier Reef trip will have to wait

The Duncans were in the midst of booking their long-awaited bucket list trip to the Great Barrier Reef when the news about SA started flooding in and their uncertain situation began to unfold.

“Dad and my sister Storm were supposed to come to Cairns [on Wednesday] while mum and me just had a bit of girl time before,” Deb Duncan said.

“The Great Barrier Reef didn’t get to happen this time but hopefully we’ll get back — we’ll just have to see how it goes with mum’s clinical trial and that sort of thing.

“She did The Ghan earlier this year, we’ve been to Europe, we went to Western Australia last year, so she’s slowly getting through it, so it’s a bit sad that this one didn’t get to be achieved.”

Bo and Deb Duncan smile as they take a selfie on the beach at Palm Cove near Cairns in Far North Queensland.
The Duncans have paid $4,000 for their flights home — an unexpected cost at the end of a disappointing holiday.(Supplied: Bo Duncan)

Cancer drug trial awaits

Deb Duncan received the first dose of the cancer drug last week, and her oncologist told her she was able to travel.

“She had a week off between doses so they said she was welcome to come [to Cairns],” Bo Duncan said.

However, this week her doctor told her that it would be detrimental to her health if she did not return home in time for her second dose of the experimental drug.

By Wednesday, the Duncans had given up getting in touch with Queensland Health and they booked a flight to Adelaide, connecting through Brisbane.

When asked for the correct protocol for interstate travellers from hotspots, Queensland Health directed the ABC to its website.

It states any South Australians who entered Queensland from a hotspot before 11:59pm AEST on November 16 must be tested and quarantine for 14 days from the date of leaving the hotspot.

However, the website later states people from designated hotspots are allowed to leave Queensland before their quarantine period has finished.

“If you have come from an interstate hotspot and you decide you no longer want to remain in Queensland after you have started quarantine, you can leave before your 14 days are finished,” the website said.

“You should leave Queensland by the most direct route possible and without stopping or coming into contact with the community.”

The Duncans have paid $4,000 for their flights home — an unexpected cost at the end of a disappointing holiday.

“We had to — if it was any other circumstance we would have stayed here, but mum needs her medication, she needs her treatment,” Bo Duncan said.

She said she was frustrated by the lack of information about their specific circumstances.

A spokesperson for Queensland Health said it was a “rapidly evolving situation” and advice would change as necessary.

“The situation in Adelaide is concerning and the decision to close the border is an appropriate response given the significant health risk to Queenslanders,” the spokesperson said.

“We understand that this has thrown travel plans into chaos for many.

“We worked to get advice to the public as quickly as possible with the aim of keeping Queenslanders safe.”

The spokesperson said up-to-date information was available on the Queensland Health website.

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Sarasota Beach and Streets Close Due to Tropical Storm Eta Flooding

Local police reported flooding in Sarasota, Florida, on November 11, as Tropical Storm Eta neared landfall. The storm’s eye was directly west of Sarasota as of 3.47 pm on Wednesday, and the city declared a local state of emergency earlier that afternoon, local media reported. The National Hurricane Center’s advisory on Wednesday warned of heavy rain and strong wind across west-central Florida, as well as possible flooding across the area. Sarasota County warned of road closures and planned water outages in certain neighborhoods starting from Wednesday night. The first clip shows Sarasota’s Lido Beach closed off due to high surf. The second clip shows officers diverting traffic due to flooding on local roadways. Credit: Sarasota Police Department via Storyful

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Tropical Storm Eta soaks South Florida after landfall at the Keys

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‘We Need a Boat Today’: Miami Hit by Flooding From Tropical Storm Eta

Tropical Storm Eta brought strong wind and heavy rain to Florida’s Miami-Dade County as it made landfall on November 8. This footage, posted on Twitter by Gabby Darder, shows flooding in areas of Hialeah, a city in Miami-Dade County, on November 9. A car can be seen driving through flood waters on West 26th Place. The National Hurricane Center said life-threatening flash flooding was possible in areas of southeast Florida with hurricane conditions expected Sunday night and early Monday. Local media reported that many South Florida residents experienced power outages on Monday. Florida Power and Light said that 9,070 customers were without power in Miami-Dade County, and 8,730 customers in Broward. Credit: Gabby Darder via Storyful

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Tropical Storm Eta: Florida braces for impact after dozens die in Central America | World News

Dozens of people have been killed in central America and at least 100 are missing after Tropical Storm Eta caused landslides and rivers burst their banks.

Authorities in Guatemala raised the death toll there to 27 from 15 and said more than 100 people were missing, many of them in a landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.

A community road leading to Puerto Cortes in Honduras is seen after it was flooded

Local officials in Honduras reported 21 dead, though the national disaster agency has confirmed only eight.

Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, and authorities from Panama to Mexico are still surveying the damage following days of torrential rain during the week.

In Guatemala, search teams first had to overcome multiple landslides and deep mud just to reach the site, where officials have estimated some 150 homes were devastated.

In southern Mexico, across the border from Guatemala, 20 people died as heavy rains caused mudslides and swelled streams and rivers, according to Chiapas state civil defence official Elías Morales Rodríguez.

On Saturday the storm swelled rivers and flooded coastal zones in Cuba, where 25,000 had been evacuated. But there were no reports of deaths.

Eta made landfall in Florida early on Monday, bringing heavy rains to already flooded city streets.

Beaches and coronavirus testing sites were closed and public transportation was shut down.

A woman crosses the street during a heavy rain and wind in Miami
A woman crosses the street during a heavy rain and wind in Miami

The system’s slow speed and heavy rains pose a large threat to an area which was already drenched by more than 350mm (14in) of rain last month.

Forecasters said Eta could dump an additional 150-300mm (6-12in) of rain.

Schools in several districts have been closed, with authorities saying the roads were already too flooded and the winds could be too strong for buses to transport students. Shelters also opened in Miami and the Florida Keys.

“Please take this storm seriously,” urged Palm Beach County emergency management director Bill Johnson.

“Please don’t drive through flooded roadways.”

In the Florida Keys, the mayor ordered mandatory evacuations for mobile home parks, campgrounds and RV parks and those in low-lying areas.

On the forecast track, Eta is expected to move out into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and intensify into a hurricane late Monday or Tuesday.

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Tropical Storm Eta Makes Landfall in the Florida Keys After Strengthening

Tropical Storm Eta, the 28th named storm of this year’s busy hurricane season, made landfall on the central part of the Florida Keys late Sunday night, bringing strong winds and heavy rains to the region, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had maximum wind speeds of about 65 miles per hour as it struck Lower Matecumbe Key around 11 p.m. on Sunday, according to Doppler radar data, the center said.

The storm devastated portions of Central America, where it started on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving more than 50 dead in its wake before weakening to a tropical depression. It passed over the Cayman Islands and the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday and made landfall on the south-central coast of Cuba early Sunday morning.

It was about 70 miles east of Key West late Sunday night, according to an advisory from the center. The storm was moving northwest at 14 m.p.h.

The Florida Keys and South Florida were experiencing heavy rains and dangerous flooding. A life-threatening storm surge could occur in those areas as well as tornadoes, which were expected Sunday evening through Monday.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the Florida coast from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach. A hurricane warning was also issued for the Florida Keys, from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for South Florida, from the Brevard and Volusia County line to Englewood, including Florida Bay and Lake Okeechobee.

On Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for eight Florida counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. All Covid-19 testing sites in Miami-Dade County have closed in preparation for the storm until further notice.

Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the storm had expanded since striking Central America. Its zigzag path, steered by high and low pressure systems, is not uncommon for storms that form later in the season, he said.

Forecasters predicted six to 12 inches of rain, with isolated instances of 18 inches possible, in parts of South and Central Florida. Tropical-storm-force winds were expected to arrive in Florida by Sunday night.

“We had some pretty heavy rain on the grounds here in October, so the ground is already pretty saturated,” Mr. Feltgen said. “We’re looking at the potential for a lot of urban flooding around here.”

“We always say there’s no such thing as just a tropical storm,” Mr. Feltgen said. “You can get some very serious impacts from a tropical storm. This is a very big, very serious rainfall event.”

The storm made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing devastation to portions of Central America with winds of up to 140 m.p.h. and heavy rainfall that reached 35 inches in some areas.

Flooding and mudslides contributed to at least 57 deaths in Guatemala, the country’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, said at a news conference on Thursday. One mudslide buried 25 houses and trapped dozens of people inside, The Associated Press reported.

Two miners were killed in mudslides in Nicaragua, The A.P. reported. In Honduras, a 12-year-old girl was killed when she became trapped in a mudslide.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression as it traveled over mountainous terrain, Mr. Feltgen said, but by Saturday it had strengthened again into a tropical storm.

With this storm, the unusually busy 2020 season tied a record set in 2005 for the most storms. That year, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma battered the Gulf Coast, and so many storms grew strong enough to be named that meteorologists resorted to the Greek alphabet after exhausting the list of rotating names maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

The agency never got to Eta that year, however, because the 28th storm was not identified until the season was over; it remained nameless. That last storm in 2005 was a subtropical storm that formed briefly in October near the Azores, a remote archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

This season, the 28th storm followed Hurricane Zeta, which landed on Oct. 28 in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane, killing at least six people and causing widespread power outages in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Carolinas.

Azi Paybarah contributed reporting.

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Tropical Storm Eta making landfall in Cuba, heads toward southern Florida

The storm is expected to drench the Florida Keys.

Tropical Storm Eta made landfall early Sunday morning along the south central coast of Cuba with winds of 65 mph.

The storm is about 235 miles south-southeast of Miami and moving north at 14 mph.

The center of Eta will pass near the Florida Keys Sunday night and be just West of the Keys by Monday morning.

Rainfall continues to be the greatest risk with Eta, with locally over 2 feet of rain possible in parts of Cuba.

Up to 14 inches of rain will be possible in the Bahamas and parts of Florida could see 12-18 inches of rain. In some cases, this will be enough to cause life threatening flash flooding.

October in general tends to be a very wet month for southern Florida.

An additional concern will be the storm surge. Storm surges locally of up to 4 feet will be possible in parts of southern Florida in the storm surge-prone areas.

Additionally, there could possibly be tornadoes in Southern Florida as Eta moves through the region over the next 48 hours.

Once Eta makes it into the Gulf of Mexico, Eta will begin to slow down and its direction then becomes unclear.

Forecast models this morning actually have Eta stalling in the Gulf of Mexico through much of the upcoming week.

While the exact location and direction of Eta and its eventual stall remain unclear, there is potential that cold fronts moving across parts of the eastern U.S. could draw tropical moisture from Eta and create a potential for flash flooding in some spots along the East Coast later this week.

In the West, a storm system is beginning to move across part of the country, bringing snow, rain and some gusty winds.

Some of the most organized areas of snow this morning are in parts of Montana and the Rocky Mountains where locally up to 3 feet is expected through Tuesday.

This storm system and its associated dip in the jet stream is expected to bring wind gusts locally over 50 mph from parts of California all the way Wisconsin as wind gusts could be exacerbated in the higher terrains of the intermountain west.

Elsewhere, Los Angeles received 0.11 inches of rain on Saturday, ending a 172-day streak of no rain which is its 7th longest streak in history.

Las Vegas did not receive measurable rain and has smashed their record for longest dry streak already with 202 days since their last rainfall though the region might have an opportunity to pick up rainfall today.

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Strong Winds Lash Cayman Islands as Eta Regains Tropical Storm Strength

Strong winds battered palm trees in the Cayman Islands as Eta, which the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said had regained tropical-storm strength, approached on the morning of November 7. The NHC issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the Cayman Islands, parts of Cuba, northwest Bahamas, South Florida, and the Florida Keys. “Significant, life-threatening flash and river flooding will be possible in Cuba, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain,” the NHC said. “A tornado or two may occur Sunday evening and Sunday night over South Florida and the Keys,” they continued. The Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas and South Florida were forecast to experience urban and flash flooding, the NHC said. Credit: @gonolesglp via Storyful

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Eta to strengthen back into tropical storm Saturday, will approach Florida Sunday

Rainfall totals in southern Florida could exceed a foot of rain.

Eta remains a tropical depression Saturday morning but is forecasted to strengthen over the coming days. The system is 250 miles west-southwest of Grand Cayman and has winds of 35 mph.

Tropical storm watches have been extended northward into southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The current forecast track expects Eta to approach the Cayman Islands Saturday, likely becoming a tropical storm once again.

Eta will then move over Cuba Saturday night and Sunday, and then be near southern Florida by Sunday night and Monday.

There are already some outer bands of Eta moving into southern Florida Saturday morning. Some of these bands could contain gusty winds and heavy rain. Additionally, isolated waterspouts and tornadoes will be possible in some of these outer bands.

Rainfall continues to be the main threat from Eta. Parts of Central America could see another 2 to 5 inches of rain before Eta moves far enough away from the region. This could bring isolated storm totals of 40 inches in parts of Honduras and Nicaragua.

Rain totals in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands could approach 15-25 inches, with most of that rainfall having already fallen. Locally, up to 2 feet of rain could fall in Cuba as well. This amount of rainfall will continue to bring the risk for life-threatening flash flooding, as well as mudslides and landslides.

Rainfall totals in Florida could exceed a foot of rain, especially in extreme southern Florida. It’s important to note that southern Florida is capable of absorbing a good amount of rainfall. However, October was a very wet month for the area. That, combined with the likelihood of intense precipitation, could lead to flash flooding, especially in the more urban areas in the Miami metropolitan area.

A storm surge of 2 to 3 feet will be possible in parts of southern Florida as well.

The forecast track brings Eta into the Gulf by Tuesday and Wednesday, where it likely will be able to remain its tropical storm status. It is unclear exactly where Eta will go at that point. However, it is likely to remain a tropical threat to parts of the Gulf, especially Florida, through the middle of the week.

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