On Friday, Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano erupted violently, sending skyward a cloud of ash that was visible from Mexico City 40 miles away. Residents of the town of Xalitzintla, which sits at the foot of the 17,886-foot mountain, awoke on Friday to rattling windows and ash and rocks that shot more than half a mile downhill. Authorities have readied 50 buses and alerted the town's 2,600 residents to stand by for evacuation should mud and ash flood the village, which sits in a ravine. In a portentous speech on Thursday, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon noted Mexico's recent encounters with natural disaster. "All we're missing is an eruption of Popocatepetl and we'll complete the picture," he said, knocking on wood. Popo's last major eruption came in December 2000.
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