In Mexico, the warning level for the Popocatépetl volcano has been raised. The authorities classified the emission of smoke, ash and glowing rocks on Sunday as a danger to aviation and the population in the wider area. The new warning level "Yellow Phase Three" is only one step away from the "Red Alert", which results in evacuations.
Located in central Mexico between Mexico City and Puebla, Popocatépetl is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, as about 100 million people live within a radius of 25 kilometers. Already on Saturday, the ash rain from Popocatépetl had temporarily paralyzed two airports in the Mexican capital. On Sunday morning, Puebla, the capital of the state of the same name, was covered with gray ash.
With the new warning level, the population is called upon to prepare for possible evacuations. Dozens of emergency shelters have already been set up in the area.
The Mexican Civil Protection declares the warning level "yellow phase three" when a "medium to high activity" of the volcano, "explosions of increasing intensity" and the ejection of glowing rocks are recorded. As civil protection coordinator Laura Velázquez said, there is also an increased risk of magma eruptions. The explosions were so powerful that rocks could be thrown "over considerable distances".
The Popocatépetl has been active again since 1994 after a long period of rest and has since shown phases of increased activity again and again.