Easter Sunday ‘miracle’? How Chedeng weakened


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Easter Sunday ‘miracle’? How Chedeng weakened
Philippine government meteorologist: 'We projected it to weaken but not that fast'

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine’s disaster management chief is not ruling out a miracle when on Easter Sunday, April 5, the strong typhoon he has been watching for days is gone. 

A weakened Chedeng (Maysak) made landfall 8am in Dinapigue, Isabela province and will likely dissipate into a low pressure area (LPA) within 24 hours – a far cry from its super typhoon status just a few days earlier.

“What happened is short of a miracle. From a super typhoon, it became a tropical depression. We’re not ruling out an intervention,” said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chief Alexander Pama in an early Sunday morning briefing.

“We projected it to weaken but not that fast. It was almost stationary. That’s the big factor that weakened it,” said PAGASA chief weather forecaster Esperanza Cayanan.

Check out this satellite loop from Digital Typhoon of #Maysak from birth to its now death.

Posted by Westernpacificweather on Saturday, April 4, 2015

Before hitting the Philippines, Maysak cut destructive path that prompted certain Pacific islands to declare a state of emergency. Foreign weather agencies previously categorized it as a supertyphoon, although the Philippine weather bureau PAGASA was more conservative, saying it was 5 kph short of being a supertyphoon.  

Cayanan said the typhoon continued to lose its strength Sunday dawn while it stayed almost stationary over the country’s eastern seaboard, where the ocean is cold. There was not enough heat or energy in the water to intensify Chedeng, Cayanan said. 

Chedeng also approached as the country officially began the summer season with the termination of the northeast monsoon, or the amihan, a system that could have enhanced the typhoon. (READ: Summer begins in PH as new storm nears)

Not the first miracle?

The Easter Sunday, in which the Christian faithful celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, is widely celebrated in the predominantly Catholic country.

Improved weather allowed Pama and the rest of the disaster management officials – walkie-talkies on their belts – to find the time to attend a Mass, held at the lobby of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), just across the street from the NDRRMC.

Pama said Chedeng is not the first “miracle” under his watch as NDRRMC chief, recalling typhoons Ruby (Hagupit) and Typhoon Amang (Mekkhala) just a few months back.

Typhoon Ruby was a super typhoon as it approached the Philippines early December 2014, but came ashore in Eastern Samar December 6 weakened and slow-moving. It moved at a snail’s pace across the Visayas, and it further weakened December 8 – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – as it passed over Southern Luzon. 

Meanwhile, Typhoon Amang threatened to cancel the plans of Pope Francis in the Philippines in January. The Pope proceeded with his trip to Leyte and celebrated the Mass wearing a raincoat. (READ: Ruby weakens as typhoon threatens Metro and ‘Pope in a raincoat’ defines this papal visit)

“This Easter Sunday is a confirmation that God is in control…. God can control nature,” said Quiapo parish priest Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, who celebrated the Mass at the OCD. 

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also sent boxes of doughnuts, which the NDRRMC workers shared after the Mass. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com

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