The upcoming tropical storm — Chubasco

Ken Jones

Staff member
As southern California braces for the upcoming tropical storm it reminded me of the short story I wrote called Chubasco. In the opening paragraphs I wrote the following:

“Man, what a lousy day!” The chubasco had come right up the Baja coast bangin’ into villages, knockin’ out the spiffy new resorts, and overturnin’ boats. Then it got really serious before it moved north, skirted by San Diego County, and hit the “Big Orange.”

Luckily, most of Orange County saw limited damage as it survived the display of temper by Mother Nature. It was a welcome relief to local anglers who had read of the devastation caused by “El Cordonazo” (The Lash of St. Francis), the name given to the chubasco that blew in from the Pacific in September of ‘39.

That tropical storm, hurricane, or chubasco (the description depending upon which newspaper you read), had brought nearly three inches of rain in one day, flooded much of southern California, and resulted in more than 90 deaths.

Among the many structures damaged or destroyed were the local piers: two thirds of the pier at San Clemente was washed away; the pier at Doheny Palisades was damaged; the “T” at the end of the Balboa Pier was gone; half of the Newport Pier was missing; and damage was inflicted upon both the Huntington Beach and Seal Beach piers. Luckily the new storm although damaging was not as lethal.

I hope all of the piers survive the new storm undamaged.


Senior Member
Hopefully is not as bad as they are predicting.

On a side note, that I may have mentioned before, there is a movie called Chubasco.
It is a love story with some commercial tuna fishing too.
There is a great old video of the storm on Sunday afternoon as the boats were returning from Catalina Island in the storm. It is available on U Tube as the Hurricane of 1939. It is short but good.

As to the Newport Pier damage, people were lined up at the city hall the next day. It was in back of Baldy's tackle. They made sure the pier got rebuilt.

Balboa is still damaged from Winter storms, cross-beam still dragging into water under Ruby's trash bin corner, creaking as it moves with the swell, anyone hear anything about it's repair?