The dramatic eruption at 5:58 am local time (1158 GMT) spewed ash over the nearby city of Puebla, causing the local airport to halt operations from dawn until 2:00 pm local time (2000 GMT), said Mexico’s disaster relief body CENAPRED in a news release.
According to CENAPRED, the ash cloud rose 500 metres (1,640 feet) over the crater towards the north- northwest. A yellow phase two alert has been declared for the area. It is the second-highest warning on the centre’s seven-step scale.
Authorities are encouraging residents to take preventative measures.
Ash reportedly fell in the towns of Atlixco, Chiautzingo, Domingo Arenas, Huejotzingo, Juan C. Bonilla, San Andres Calpan and San Martin Texmelucan, in the state of Puebla and in San Miguel del Milagro in the state of Tlaxcala.
Popocatepetl has been active since the mid-1990s but some significant eruptions this year have rocked communities living under the volcano’s shadow, with ash blanketing nearby towns and authorities on stand-by for possible evacuation.