What the op is really asking is how to make their own weather forecasts. "How to recognize an impending while hiking?" seems pretty on-topic. How to make ones own forecasts seems rather off topic. Thoughts?
It seems like the heart of your statement is:
We shouldn't be teaching people how to replace their local weatherman, but weather is an important topic.
I agree and feel like each weather question should be judged on its own merit. Like you said weather is such an integral aspect to safety with many outdoor endeavors that it really should be broadly on topic IMO. While in general I think it is inappropriate to replace your local weatherman, there are instances when I feel you need to become the weatherman.
Should discussions about reading detailed weather reports with isobar maps at various altitudes be off topic?
- No! Bluewater cruisers might need help reading a weather fax to avoid the worst parts of a major storm. There are entire chapters of heavy weather sailing books dedicated to interpreting weather charts.
Should information analyzing weather patterns over a region, and correlating that information with observed local weather data be off topic?
- No! Long term expeditions need some kind of forecasting knowledge when climbing a remote peak unassisted. Historical patterns are great for planning climbing windows. Once you're on the expedition you need to use the tools on hand coupled with your historical knowledge to plan a good summit window.
Should discussion about interpreting information culled from publicly available remote weather sensing stations be off topic?
- No! Backcountry skiers need to understand how weather affects avalanche danger. Some regions don't have good avalanche reporting available, but they do have remote weather stations that can be leveraged. Even when there is good avalanche reports available the report must cover a broad area. Understanding the localized weather data will help you choose a spot to go, and in interpreting the snow pit results if you deem digging a pit is needed.
These are instances that I came up with off the top of my head that feel complicated and more the job of a weatherman than an enthusiast. The fact is an enthusiast sometimes needs to learn and interact with detailed weather information in order to reduce risk.
Kind on the fence to me. I don’t think that "making your own forecasts" is a problem in itself... looking at the colour of the sky in the evening or how high swallows fly its a way to make your own forecasts after all, reliable or not, and I think that would be on topic. "How to read and put together the same meteorological data available to the weather network" instead, is basically a meteorology course and off-topic. Depends where you draw the line on the data you have to use I guess...