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Storming heaven with prayers: ‘Amang’ unlikely to make landfall

/ 01:42 AM January 15, 2015

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MANILA, Philippines–The storm approaching typhoon-battered Eastern Visayas, coinciding with Pope Francis’ visit is unlikely to make landfall, the weather bureau said on Wednesday.

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Tropical Storm “Amang” (international name: Mekkhala) will enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday, when the Pope arrives.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said while Amang would intensify as it nears Eastern Visayas, this would likely weaken before it hits land.

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The region as well as surrounding provinces in southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao have been battered by back-to-back Typhoon “Ruby” and Tropical Storm “Seniang” last month.

As of Wednesday, Amang has intensified from a tropical depression into a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gusts up to 80 kph while moving west northwest toward Eastern Visayas at 19 kph.

“It is expected to intensify into a tropical storm before entering the Philippine area of responsibility by (Thursday) morning and will be named Amang.

“However, it is predicted to weaken as it approaches the eastern seaboard, with a low possibility of making landfall,” Pagasa said in its weather advisory.

Weather forecaster Alvin Pura said the storm was expected to change to a northeast direction, moving away from Eastern Visayas.

Pura said the cold weather from the prevailing northeast monsoon would weaken the storm before it could hit land.

But even if it does not hit land, the storm will bring rains to the region when Pope Francis visits Tacloban City and neighboring Palo, in Leyte province, on Saturday, Pagasa said.

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Pagasa said on that day, Tacloban and surrounding areas would have “light to moderate rains and moderate to strong winds” with likely thunderstorms as the storm moves closer toward the area.

The rainy weather will continue until Sunday, but good weather will return on Monday, the weather bureau said.

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TAGS: Amang, Pagasa, papal visit, Pope Francis, Tropical storm, Weather, weather forecast
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