MEXICO CITY, April 4 (UPI) -- Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano violently erupted over the weekend, launching ash and burning rocks into the air after weeks of increased activity.
Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention last week raised the environmental alert level to the second degree out of three, meaning nearby residents should be prepared to evacuate.
Officials have warned nearby residents to avoid the area, adding that low-level to intermediate-level explosive activity is expected. Falling ash may affect nearby towns.
Sunday's eruption occurred at 8:31 p.m., which led to an ash cloud reaching 1.2 miles in height and the raining down of burning rock fragments.
Volcanic activity has recently increased in Popocatépetl, which is in central Mexico -- about 43 miles southeast of Mexico City. Sunday's eruption has been the most significant in the past month.
The alert level was not raised after Sunday's eruption.