Mexico maintains a watchful eye on the erupting volcano

On Tuesday, a volcano southeast of Mexico City ejected more gas and ash into the sky, as authorities kept their warning level at one notch below red alert.

Dozens of shelters have been opened near Popocatepetl, which is roughly 70 kilometers (45 miles) from Mexico City and has experienced moments of heightened activity since waking up from a decades-long hibernation in 1994.

The government is monitoring Popocatepetl “day and night,” according to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, after the volcano erupted again overnight.

He said the volcano’s activity had slowed slightly since the alert level was hoisted on Sunday, helping to calm concerns in ash-covered towns and villages close.

“Last night I slept a little better because the other three days my house’s windows and door vibrated,” said Francisca de los Santos, a 56-year-old living in a town close to the volcano.

“We’re used to it, but it always scares us a bit,” she told AFP, adding that she had no plan to leave her home.

Popocatepetl, Mexico’s second tallest volcano, rises roughly 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) above sea level and is home to approximately 25 million people within a 100-kilometer radius.

According to Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention, 22 volcanic exhalations of water vapor, volcanic gasses, and ash have been observed in the previous 24 hours, along with two explosions.

The alert level was raised to “yellow phase three” on Sunday, a day after two Mexico City airports momentarily ceased operations due to falling ash.

A red signal would necessitate immediate evacuations in towns surrounding the volcano, whose name means “smoking mountain” in the indigenous Nahuatl language.

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