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Mexican volcano spews massive columns of ash and smoke, forcing flight cancelations

Mexico’s most dangerous active volcano spewed ash and smoke on Tuesday, with photos showing massive columns of gray emissions – large enough to ground nearby flights.

The Popocatépetl volcano sits in central Mexico between the states of Morelos, Puebla and the State of Mexico.

Ash fall was reported in Mexico City and its surrounding region, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of the volcano, according to the National Civil Protection Coordination.

Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention said it recorded 77 discharges from the volcano and issued a level two volcanic threat level, which requires taking preventative measures and staying a distance away.

Some airlines had to cancel operations out of Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport (AICM), according to the airport.

Some 25 million people live in a 60-mile (96-kilometer) radius of the volcano, but the civil protection body said there is currently no “risk for the population.”

The volcano had been dormant for decades until its eruption in 1994 – and recent activity had put residents on high alert. Since then, its rumblings have become a part of daily life for those living close by.

In 2019, the Popocatépetl erupted 14 times in one night. Then last May, it spewed enough ash that the Mexico City airport canceled hundreds of flights. Authorities in several states suspended in-person classes and warned residents to prepare for evacuation – though volcanic activity eventually slowed.

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