Mexico City, Mexico.
Mexican officials raised the alert level for Popocatepetl volcano (center) this Sunday, noting an increased activity that could affect aviation and even remote populations due to the projection of fragments.
A day after operations at the Mexico City airport were temporarily suspended due to ash fall, Civil Defense announced that the alert level rises from “Yellow Phase 2 to Yellow Phase 3”.
It is the level before the highly dangerous red, which is divided into two phases, explained the organization’s coordinator, Laura Velazquez, at a press conference.
During the new phase, a “low-intensity explosive eruption activity” is expected, so “light to moderate eruptions that launch fragments around the crater” can be expected, in nearby towns and a few distant ones. Ash rain over cities and “risk to aviation”.
Velazquez warned, there could be “significant growth of domes and the potential for magma ejection” as well as “significant eruptions of increasing intensity that launch fragments over considerable distances”.
The increase in alerts, which take place on the recommendation of a scientific committee, forces authorities and relief agencies to prepare personnel, evacuation teams and shelters in case of emergencies.
Similarly, the authorities have to adopt measures to avoid damage due to falling of ash and material pieces.
Dozens of shelters have already been set up in the area near the volcano, which has increased its activity since last Friday night with moderate eruptions, accompanied by emissions of ash and incandescent fragments around the crater.