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Mexicans awake to volcanic ash

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
Rescue workers walk in the Paso de Cortez crossing as ash and rain fall Saturday, July 6, 2013.  Just east of Mexico City, the Popocatepetl volcano has spit out a cloud of ash and vapor 2 miles (3 kilometers) high over several days of eruptions. Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention raised the volcano alert from Stage 2 Yellow to Stage 3 Yellow, the final step before a Red alert, when possible evacuations could be ordered. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Rescue workers walk in the Paso de Cortez crossing as ash and rain fall Saturday, July 6, 2013. Just east of Mexico City, the Popocatepetl volcano has spit out a cloud of ash and vapor 2 miles (3 kilometers) high over several days of eruptions. Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention raised the volcano alert from Stage 2 Yellow to Stage 3 Yellow, the final step before a Red alert, when possible evacuations could be ordered. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

MEXICO CITY — The Popocatepetl volcano just east of Mexico City has spit out a cloud of ash and vapor 2 miles high during several days of eruptions, and Mexico City residents awoke on Saturday to find a fine layer of volcanic dust on their cars.

It has been years since the center of the nation's capital has had a noticeable ash fall because prevailing winds usually blow the volcanic dust in other directions. Ash fell last week in some neighborhoods on Mexico City's south and east sides.

The city's legion of car washers quickly wiped the fine coating from cars.

Claudia Dominguez, spokeswoman for the Mexico City civil defense office, said the very fine ash had probably been floating over the city from the recent eruptions and had been brought to Earth by rainfall late Friday. She said no new ash fall had been reported, despite continuous eruptions of vapor and ash into the air from the 15,000-foot volcano.

While city residents were surprised by the talcum-like ash, inhabitants of towns nearer the volcano have had to deal with much thicker accumulations that have coated their crops, homes and sidewalks.

In San Pedro Nex-apa, about nine miles from the volcano, residents swept small piles of ash from a few square yards of sidewalk. Some wore surgical masks to ward off the dust raised by passing vehicles.

“The ash affects us a lot, because we get our water from the snowmelt from Popocatepetl, and right now we can't use the water for bathing, for cooking. We can't even give it to our animals,” said housewife Agustina Perez Gutierrez.

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