(SOURCE) A dramatic volcanic eruption in Mexico has left an entire town covered with ash. Officials in the town of Puebla are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that spewed from the Popocatepetl volcano Sunday evening.
About 25 million people live within 62 miles of the crater of the 17,797-foot stratovolcano. It’s been periodically erupting since 1994.
The current ash cloud has been blowing over Puebla, directly to the east of the volcano, covering the city in a layer of fine powder that looks like snow and forcing closure of the city’s airport, the Associated Press reports.
While the government does not see the eruption as a threat high enough to warrant evacuations, Puebla Online reports that authorities have advised a restriction of outdoor activities. Officials also warn against cleaning the ashes with water, recommending residents sweep the ash into plastic bags instead.
Mexico’s national disaster prevention agency reports that the eruption began around 2:30 a.m. (3:30 EDT; 0730 GMT) Monday, hurling glowing rock as far as a mile from the crater. Ash rose nearly two miles above the crater.
The Aeropuerto Interacional de Puebla, Hermanos Serdán reopened on Tuesday, April 19 at 5 a.m., according to the airport’s Twitter.
Fernando Estrella, a civil protection official, said in an interview with Millennium Star News that the falling ash “is normal at this stage.”