The large visible smoke plume from the Patrick Cudahy Plant fire in southeast Milwaukee County can also be detected by our Doppler Radar. Vegetation and structure fires produce smoke particles which can reflect energy back to the radar just as raindrops or hail would. However, typically only very large fires produce enough smoke to be seen from radar. In this case, the blue dot in the image below could represent a smoke particle scattering back the energy sent out from the Doppler Radar located at our office near Sullivan, WI.
For more information on Doppler Radar go to: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mkx/?n=using-radar
The animation below shows the smoke plume beginning in Cudahy, WI and then moving to the southeast out over Lake Michigan. The surface observation (in yellow) is from Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and shows a light northwest wind pushing the smoke plume out over the lake. The loop runs from 8:40 AM to 9:29 AM CDT this morning.