Guatemala residents are on alert as the Santiaguito volcano (Santa María) dumped plumes of smoke and ash over nearby communities, coating cars and houses in grey dust.
The volcano, about 141 miles (227 km) from Guatemala City in western Guatemala, erupted today “very strong,” with the release of smoke and ash at high altitudes, so air traffic has been restricted in the area.
The director of the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh), Eddy Sanchez, reported that the sand and volcanic ash is dispersed within at least a 4 kilometers radius of the volcano.
“There is a crater collapse, pyroclastic flows, and notice has already been given to Civil Aviation to restrict air operations in that region.”
Sanchez said the eruption of Santiaguito will last for several hours and urged people to stock up surrounding drinking water because the sand and volcanic ash can contaminate streams.
The sand and ash can also affect coffee plantations, Sanchez added.
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