The Americas

Mexican volcano spews ash on nearby towns

  • Workers sweep ash off the streets of San Andres Cholla, Mexico, Monday April 18, 2016, after the Popocatepetl volcano erupted overnight, spewing ash on nearby towns. Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

    Workers sweep ash off the streets of San Andres Cholla, Mexico, Monday April 18, 2016, after the Popocatepetl volcano erupted overnight, spewing ash on nearby towns. Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man uses his shirt to cover his face as he walks through the ash-covered streets of San Andres Cholla, Mexico, Monday April 18, 2016, after the Popocatepetl volcano erupted overnight, spewing ash on nearby towns. Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

    A man uses his shirt to cover his face as he walks through the ash-covered streets of San Andres Cholla, Mexico, Monday April 18, 2016, after the Popocatepetl volcano erupted overnight, spewing ash on nearby towns. Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)  (The Associated Press)

  • People walk on the ash-covered streets of San Andres Cholla, Mexico, Monday April 18, 2016, after the Popocatepetl volcano erupted overnight, spewing ash on nearby towns. Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

    People walk on the ash-covered streets of San Andres Cholla, Mexico, Monday April 18, 2016, after the Popocatepetl volcano erupted overnight, spewing ash on nearby towns. Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)  (The Associated Press)

Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano has seen a dramatic overnight explosion that sent ash blowing over the major city of Puebla directly to the east, forcing closure of the city's airport.

Officials there are urging to people to wear masks to avoid inhaling the fine grit that has covered houses and cars.

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 (1.5 kilometer from the crater. Ash rose nearly two miles (3 kilometers) above the crater.

About 25 million people live within 62 miles (100 kilometers) from the crater of the 17,797-foot (5,426-meter) stratovolcano. It's been periodically erupting since 1994.