In Mexico City, authorities have told residents to be ready to evacuate the city in the event of Popocatépetl volcano erupting. Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who flew over the crater of the volcano over the weekend, alerted residents via social media. Evacuation routes have been identified by authorities and the president has urged residents to stay alert but not alarmed. The volcano is situated 35 miles outside the capital of Mexico City.
MEXICO CITY—The towering Popocatépetl volcano outside Mexico City rumbled loudly and spewed plumes of ash, water vapor and hot rocks high into the sky on Friday, scaring nearby residents and putting Mexican officials on alert.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón visited nearby communities and flew close to the crater Friday morning, later calling on residents via his Twitter account to prepare in case of a needed evacuation by keeping at hand a battery-powered radio, flashlight, medicine and important documents.
Red-hot stones lay on the volcano’s slopes early Friday morning.
“It is important to keep calm,” Mr. Calderón wrote. “We are closely watching the activity of Popocatépetl.”
Authorities mapped out evacuation routes, and prepared shelters in case the volcano’s activity increases.
Experts say a massive eruption of the 17,886-foot (5,450-meter) volcano is unlikely, but a buildup of a magma chamber under its slopes may release clouds of thick ash that could blanket Mexico City and cause havoc at its international airport.
“Popo,” as the volcano is affectionately known in Mexico, came back to life in 1994 after decades of relative quiet and regularly emits puffs of ash and vapor. In fact, the volcano’s name in Mexico’s indigenous Nahuatl language means “smoking mountain.”
In the past week, the volcano’s activity suddenly increased, forcing authorities to raise the alert level and place a seven-mile security radius around the mountain, which sits 35 miles outside of the capital.
Source: Wall Street Journal