"It never rains on the high holidays" used to be true, but in recent years, we have experienced some less-than-perfect weather. In the event hurricane season brings rain and wind to our neighborhoods during Sukkot, here are tips to securing your sukkah in stormy conditions.
Individuals who have constructed a Sukkah for the holiday should take appropriate actions to secure the structure and roofing to prevent damage or injury from flying debris.
In the event of ongoing sustained winds and wind gusts, most Sukkoth, especially in open areas or experiencing sustained gusts, are not built for such conditions.
This excerpt developed by Rabbi Kenneth Brander with profound thanks to Rav Hershel Schachter, shlita for his guidance. The relevant portion of the document follows:
• If the weather forecast is for winds of over 40 mph there is a serious danger that the sukkah will become flying debris which can create dangerous projectiles and should be dismantled before Shabbat/Yom Tov.
• If there is a concern of schach (bamboo mats) flying around (in winds that are less than 40 mph winds) then the schach can be tied down even with plastic cable ties.
• If schach needs to be replaced or tied down on the sukkah on Shabbat or Yom Tov in can be done by a Gentile.
Some additional tips:
• Secure your Sukkah to fixed objects such as posts or fencing. Unsecured bamboo mats can become airborne, leading to injuries and property damage. Unsecured walls (either canvas or plywood) are essentially sails and could collapse and/or blow away.
• Balconies. Succoth built on balconies on higher floors are subject to higher winds.
• Drying. If you do take down your Sukkah after rain, the materials and skhakh are likely to be wet. To avoid mold, be sure to thoroughly dry everything after Sukkoth before you store it.