Bangladesh spared cyclone’s wrath

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — Cyclone Mahasen weakened Thursday afternoon into a tropical storm and then dissipated, causing far less damage than had been feared as it passed over Bangladesh and spared Myanmar almost entirely, meteorological officials said.

At least 45 deaths related to Mahasen were reported in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, but officials had prepared for a far greater storm. Bangladesh evacuated 1 million people from coastal areas; the United Nations warned 8.2 million people could face life-threatening conditions.

The cyclone lost power as it shed huge amounts of rainfall and veered west of its predicted path, sparing major Bangladeshi population areas, including Chittagong and the resort of Cox’s Bazar, said Mohammad Alam, of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.