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Alert Level Is Raised in Central Mexico as Volcano Spews Smoke and Ash


An alert level was raised on Sunday for a volcano in Central Mexico that was spewing ash and smoke, prompting officials to close schools and public parks, and to prepare for the possibility of evacuations.

The National Disaster Prevention Center of Mexico said on Sunday that the alert level was being raised to what is known as Phase 3, which is just shy of an evacuation order, for the area around the volcano, Popocatépetl, in the central region of the country.

Laura Velázquez Alzúa, the head of the center, said at a news conference on Sunday that when an alert level is raised to Phase 3, it is possible for a volcano to produce mild to moderate explosions that can hurl fragments of rock, cause ash to fall in surrounding areas, and disrupt air travel. The expulsion of magma is also possible, the center said.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico said at a news conference on Monday morning that he was in contact with federal and local officials about the volcano, adding that it was being monitored constantly.

“We are standing by,” Mr. López Obrador said in Spanish.

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