In conversation, the weather is banality. It’s safe, superficial, bland.
In creative writing (fiction, travelogue, history, biography etc.), it can be the difference between yawn and alive.
The heart of writing is emotion. So, the foreground is characterisation and action, but there can be no foreground without background. The characters need to do their action in a vivid, live setting, or they stay two-dimensional, cardboard cutout figures.
The weather is an essential part of the background.
The Captain asked, “Ameer, Sir, with your wealth now, couldn’t you leave the action to others?”
Comfortable in the wheelhouse, happily steering the ship along a backwater of the great Niger River, Ameer Hoslo smiled at him, though it was too dark for the man to see. Although Aurora’s cloud had thinned, rain was still pelting down on the ship, and it was a night of new moon. Even the navigation lights were off. Ameer had most of his attention on feeling the surroundings with his magic, confidently guiding the ship as he’d done many times in the past. “Because I’d be bored with being a millionaire in Egypt. Because I’m the best man for the job. Because this way, no one can cheat me.”
They laughed. Ameer rounded the last bend, saying, “Slow right down.”
Within seconds, the ship nudged the pier with a gentle bump. The engines stopped.
You’ve never met Ameer before (unless you’re one of the beta readers of my Doom Healer series). Has he come immediately to life for you? Has the created reality of the story sprung into focus? Part of the reason is the dark night of new moon, with rain pelting down. It’s background, perhaps even skipped over, but very much a shaper of what’s happening, and what Ameer is shown to be able to do.
It would be a gross mistake to carefully embroider the weather and other aspects of background. The story must move, and that needs action. This is early in the book; character development is important. And, even if it weren’t science fiction, reality building is an urgent task. Words spent on description of anything, weather included, detract from all of these.
This is why I often say, writing is a charcoal sketch, not a photograph. Indoors or outdoors, a few lines about the weather add to the reality of the illusion you are creating.