When we lived in Southern California, we went through some big shakers. Ones that did lots of damage both in the town we lived in and much more in other areas. Outside of dishes sliding to the front of cabinets and having to hold on to something to keep from falling down, personally, I've never experienced any real damage.
A sound like a train coming close accompanied those earthquakes.
When the last big earthquake hit San Francisco, I was riding in a car going to a meeting. In Salinas, I thought something had gone wrong with the car. Then we noticed all the signal lights were out. We turned on the radio and heard about the devastating earthquake a bit farther North. We continued to Carmel where the hotel we were supposed to stay in had experienced damage. After hanging around for a while, we knew the meeting we'd planned to attend wasn't going to happen. We turned around and drove home.
Since we've moved to the foothills of the Sierra, we've only had two earthquakes that I remember--no damage, only minor shaking.
Yesterday, we had another one. It was reported to be 4.5 and centered in Lone Pine, a town on the other side of the mountain range.
I didn't feel anything--but I sure heard it. I thought someone had fallen against the wall, or perhaps a car had run into the side of the house. Hubby was outside and neither heard nor felt it.
Of course, many areas of California have suffered greatly from earthquakes.
Though an earthquake can cause great damage, I'll take one of those any day over a tornado or a hurricane.
What about you? If you had a choice, what would it be?
And yes, I've used an earthquake in one of my books: