Millions of residents in Mexico were warned to evacuate amid activity from Popocatépetl, the country's most dangerous active volcano, after it had already spewed ash in several nearby towns beginning last week, authorities confirmed via CNN.
Ash from Popocatépetl led to delayed flights in Mexico City, as well as school closures in dozens of municipalities. The volcano is located in central Mexico and an estimated 25 million residents are within a 60-mile radius.
The National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC) increased its volcanic threat level to "yellow phase 3" on Sunday (May 21), which resulted in a warning for the estimated 3 million residents of nearby towns and villages to stay alert and prepare for a potential evacuation. The CNPC also warned of greater volcanic activity and ash being dispersed into multiple neighboring towns at high speed, with residents advised to avoid outdoor activities amid the potential threat.
“In the case of Mexico City, the risk is ash fall. We are prepared for that scenario and we know what to do. Let’s stay alert,” Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum tweeted on Sunday via CNN.
Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City was temporarily closed on Saturday (May 20) and several flights were delayed on Monday amid the threat of volcanic ash in the area.
“Air travelers may continue to experience additional flight delays, cancellations, or temporary airport closures with little or no warning,” the US embassy in Mexico said, which coincided with a similar statement from the airport, via CNN.