Every winter, a group of people venture into the back country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to measure the amount of water resting in the snow, so farmers and cities can make accurate water plans.

Patrick Armstrong has been doing these snow surveys since 1972. He recently wrote a book about it called The Log of a Snow Survey, and he sat down with Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick to talk about Reno’s historical impact on this practice.

The Sierra snowpack is now the worst it’s been in a century. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Jeff Anderson, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, just measured 13.2 inches of water content in the snowpack up at the Mt. Rose summit. In a normal season, there would be about 90 inches of snow.

“When you look at the mountains right now," he says, "and you look at the snow that’s up there, you’re really seeing history.”

Michelle Billman

A measurement of the snowpack this morning reveals that despite a slight improvement over last month, the drought is lingering on.  After trekking to the summit of Mt. Rose, state hydrologist Jeff Anderson scooped a core of the snowpack to weigh the water content.

“What we found was that the measurement is 15.9 inches of water in the snowpack, which is almost twice as much as what we measured at the end of last month and so that’s good news."