A one-dimensional numerical cloud growth model and several empirical models for plume rise and cloud growth are compared with twenty-seven sets of observations of cooling tower plumes from the 2900 MW John E. Amos power plant in West Virginia. The three natural draft cooling towers are 200 m apart. In a cross wind, the plumes begin to merge at a distance of about 500 m downwind. In calm conditions, with reduced entrainment, the plumes often do not merge until heights of 1000 m. The average plume rise, 750 m, is predicted well by the models, but day-to-day variations are simulated with a correlation coefficient of about 0.5. Model predictions of visible plume length agree, on the average, with observations for visible plumes of short to moderate length (less than about 1 km). The prediction of longer plumes is hampered by our lack of knowledge of plume spreading after the plumes level off. Cloud water concentrations predicted by the numerical model agree with those measured in natural cumulus clouds (about 0.1 to 1 g kg/sup -1/).