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Alert level raised in Mexico due to Popocatepetl volcano activity

Mexican authorities raised the alert level for the Popocatepetl volcano (central Mexico) on Sunday due to increasing activity that could affect aviation and even communities far away from the volcano due to the emission of fragments.

A day after operations at Mexico City’s airport had to be temporarily suspended due to ashfall, Civil Protection announced that the alert level was raised from “yellow phase 2” to “yellow phase 3.” This is the level prior to the high-danger red level, also divided into two phases, explained the coordinator of the agency, Laura Velazquez, in a press conference.

Popocatepetl, whose eruptive process reactivated in December 1994, is located on the borders of the states of Mexico, Morelos, and Puebla. The capital of Puebla – also named Puebla – woke up on Sunday covered in a gray layer, observed a reporter.

During the new phase, a “low-intensity explosive eruptive activity” is expected, with the possibility of “mild to moderate explosions that launch fragments around the crater,” ashfall in neighboring towns and some distant cities, and “aviation risk.”

There could also be “significant growth of domes and the possibility of magma expulsion,” as well as “increasingly intense explosions that launch fragments over considerable distances,” warned Velazquez.

The increase in the alert level, recommended by a scientific committee, requires authorities and emergency response agencies to prepare personnel, evacuation equipment, and shelters in the event of an emergency. Additionally, measures will need to be taken to prevent damage from ashfall and material fragments.

Dozens of shelters have already been set up in the area near the volcano, which has increased its activity since Friday night with exhalations, moderate explosions, and the emission of ash and incandescent fragments near the crater.

The governments of the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala have suspended in-person classes at all educational levels due to ashfall.

On Saturday, operations at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City and Felipe Angeles International Airport located in Zumpango, which also serves the capital, were temporarily suspended. Benito Juarez, which served 46.2 million passengers in 2022, closed for just over five hours, leading to itinerary changes.

Popocatepetl is constantly monitored due to the risk it poses to the population living in nearby areas

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