Popocatepetl, a 17,886-foot high volcano, shot out burning rock fragments, plumes of ash and water vapor on Monday, April 16th and by Wednesday, officials at Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) warned “…that emergency services should ready evacuation teams and shelters, limit access to the area around the volcano and alert air-traffic control systems. The population centers around the vicinity of the volcano, including Estado de Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala are recommended to pay particular attention to any official information regarding the volcanic activity.”
Volcanologists reported that the eruption sent up an ash plume rising over 1.25 miles into the air, creating a rain of ash up to 7cm thick in over 30 communities near the volcano. Government officials announced that the area within 7.5 miles of the volcano would be an exclusion zone for the next few months. Schools in at least three towns around that zone were closed and evacuation shelters were set up.
By April 19th, officials had issued a stage 5 yellow alert in the expectation that the active volcano would be sending out more rocks and ash in the coming weeks. As of that day, the volcano had spouted vapor and ash at least 15 times in the prior 24 hours but there were no reports of serious damage to the area.