The behavior of natural draft cooling tower plumes and related meteorological variables have been measured from aircraft near three major plants of the American Electric Power System. The rise of those plumes which persisted long enough to reach a stabilized height depended primarily upon the height of the capping inversion aloft. All such plumes rose to elevations of 425 m or more above grade. No significant relationships between plume rise and wind speed, plant load, or ambient temperature were found. We conclude that simple temperature humidity soundings in the vicinity of the towers would serve as effective predictors of plume rise and persistence.