Tornadoes in Minnesota, South Dakota, New Jersey and Connecticut during my childhood. Later on went through at least 5 direct hits with typhoons on Guam.
Also experienced two very large earthquakes in the Asia/Pacific region. Those being an 8.2 at Guam in August 1993 and Taiwan's 7.7 earthquake in 1999 and the aftershocks both had. The Guam quake began around 6:35 in the evening while we were going through a Tropical storm. It was epicentered around 30 mils south east of us and same amount of miles under the surface. Still, it created several local tsunamis and flattened two major hotels, one which was a brand new and modestly sized hotel on Tumon Bay called the "Royal Palm Resort". It was a U shaped structure when looking from top down at it. There were two large 15 storey towers to it. One wing collapsed onto the first floor and tilted over to the other wing holding it up. It had to be demolished a few months later. A second hotel across the street that was only 3 floors high also came down. Amazingly no one was killed in this quake but there were many injuries. I think the car garage at the Nikko Hotel collapsed in part too? I ran out of my house at Andy South in Yigo, watched the structure gyrate up and down as one whole piece with no bending. It turned out ok although some houses reported water heaters being shorn off their pipes and the mess that created. The pavement was something to witness during this, all the cars in the car ports were jumping up and down like they were on a big full motion water mattress. My 1993 Toyota Tercel was jumping up and down off the pavement like one of those cars that has the rear end jump up and down in movies. This event lasted around 2 minutes. Guam came through pretty good overall thanks to it's pretty strict typhoon building codes. (save the two hotels that didn't fare as well). We were without power for a few weeks.
The Taiwan quake was far worse as it struck in the middle of the night (01:47am, September 21, 1999) and even though it was epicentered a little further away to my north, the rupture occurred right at the surface, a 100 km fault line called the Chelungpu fault moved *28* feet sending all that energy out just below the surface. Taiwan literally lost width that day. The result was devastating and you can still see the effects of it in some parts of Nantou County, Taiwan with large high-tension electrical towers, minus their wires, still tilted over at a 45 degree angle. Also can see water tanks on rooftops of houses that survived still tilted over. You see lots of new construction in Nantou County. Another area to see this is the resort hotel area at Sun Moon Lake. Many old hotels came down that evening and new ones that replaced them or old foundations covered with grass and weeds tell the tale. There is a large and completely wrecked Taoist temple in Chichi (the epicenter) that has been left as is to serve as a reminder of what can happen. Busloads of tourists come to visit it. The whole thing came down on itself, heavy gauge steel rebar is split out from concrete pillars like spaghetti. They did a great job with this stuff going top-down, but amazingly they used a much thinner gauge rebar wrapping around it (the horizontal rebar was about as thick as one's thumb, when the vertical rebar was as thick as a wrist, a dramatic difference). When the forces of nature started heaving things around horizontally and there was nothing of strength to hold it back, no wonder it came down. I took pictures of it a few months ago and it's quite a sight. The old railway station at Chichi was left at a 40-ish degree angle but has now been righted and strenghtened. There was original talk to demolish it but since it was wood in structure, it was easier to right and rebuild where needed. They did a great job on it. The not so fortunate though were in the large shoddily built apartment hi-rises in Taichung and elsewhere in central Taiwan. We're talking 20+ storey structures that literally tipped over or came down like card houses with people inside them. Many of them were built by unscrupulous contractors (some of which have gangland connections) that took shortcuts and paid off government officials to look the other way (unfortunately a common thing here). Many schemes to 'help the construction along' were such things as using large empty cooking oil cans instead of steel beams in walls and then pouring concrete around them to make it 'look' like they were steel reinforced concrete. When the quake hit, buildings like these came down rather easily. The walls literally were nothing but concrete around a square tin balloon.
This quake was felt all the way north as far as Shanghai in mainland China and as far south as Hong Kong. 2400 died and many thousands more were injured in the Taiwan quake. It was horrifying. House shook for over 2 minutes. The steel rebar in the walls was literally humming afterwards. We didn't lose power in the south, although northern and central Taiwan were without power for a while. The whole electrical grid was offline up there for several weeks.
Needless to say, Quakes are the ones I have the most fear and respect of. Tornadoes and Typhoons can't hold a candle to a quake.
[Edited 2003-02-23 17:04:26]
[Edited 2003-02-23 17:06:04]