SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — For the past three seasons, meteorologists at the Weather Channel have been giving severe winter storms names, with perhaps the most memorable being Nemo in February, 2013, which dumped three feet of snow on New England and caused the deaths of 14 people.

In January of this year, Hercules — driven by that now-infamous “Polar Vortex” — killed 15 as it marched from the Midwest to the Northeast.

Just how wintry does a winter storm need to be before the Weather Channel will give it a name? According to a post on their website, to qualify for a name, a winter storm must affect at least 2 million people or stretch across 400,000 square kilometers.

With a population well above 2 million, you might think the so-far-unnamed system setting up to blast the Bay Area would be a good candidate for one of the Weather Channel’s 2014-2015 names, which will be drawn from a long list that includes Bozeman, Cato, Gorgon, Hektor, Juno, Linus, Neptune, Octavia, Pandora, Thor, Ultima and Zelus.

But there’s a catch: it would seem that the cable channel’s meteorologists are not terribly impressed by mere wetness. They want to see snow — and lots of it — in their winter storms. And, although this system is expected to dump several feet of snow in the Sierra, that’s not likely to affect enough people, across enough territory, to qualify for the honor of an oddball moniker.

If the Weather Channel snubs Thursday’s storm, Northern Californians can take some comfort in the knowledge that the National Weather Service doesn’t name winter storms at all, saying in a somewhat dismissive statement that it “has no opinion about private weather enterprise products and services.”

CONTINUING STORM COVERAGE:
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