Bill, the Blogger has written an incredibly detailed narrative of his experiences in the 1994 earthquakes which hit Californa.
I can remember that period as if it was yesterday.
In Sydney, home, on the otherside of the word it was the height of summer, and bushfires ringed the state. There were major fires from the Queensland border in the North, right down to the Victorian border in the south, and in the various country regions . Weather maps showed scores of the little red flam icons right across the statemap, with escalating temperatures.
The weekend before the earthquakes in the USA, on the Saturday morning. at about 8am I was driving my then eleven year old niece down to a tennis lesson. As we came over the Beacon Hill area, which overlooks the coast and offers views of the Manly Warringah peninsula, from Manly, right up to Palm Beach and beyond we could see the sky just getting blacker and blacker with lots of cloud, and smoke. I dropped the girl wonder at tennis and told her she might have to make her own way home, bnecause I'd be calling in to the Police Station, where I worked, to see if they needed any help on the phones. It was bedlam and the one or two people in the Station were being run off their feet answering calls, and dealing with enquiries at the counter. I jumped on the phone and stayed there until about 8 o'clock then went home and slept like a log until the next day, when I went back and did it all again. There's lots of bushland on the peninsula and the fires were threatening houses in lots of areas. The volunteer firefighters, previously known as the Bushfire Brigade, and now the Rural Fire Service, as well as the NSW Fire Brigades were trying to be in all places at once. Headquarters was in the adjacent suburb to where out police station was, and we were were relaying messages, trying to calm callers, give them sensible advice and just stay on top of the situation. We had Federal and State polticians popping their head in, people were calling from all over the world and then there were people wanting to know what was going on and where the fires were. It got to the stage where we were asking them to check on the radio and TV for updates. There was a wind change on the Monday, and the danger was past for Sydney on the Tuesday.
On the Wednesday I flew out to LA for a two week holiday. I stayed a couple of nights in WEHO, and then spent 3 nights in Palm Springs. On arrival in Palm Springs I hit a few of the museums etc and everyone was saying how they'd been watching the news from Oz about the fires etc.
Early in the morning of the day of the earthquake I could feel the room shaking, and the bed (I thought upstaris) was squeaking lke mad. I thought, OK, the upstairs occupants are enjoying themselves, and then the noise and movement subsided pretty quickly. I didn't turn the TV on and it wasn't until breakfast in the dining room that people started to ask each other "Did the earth move for you?", that I realised what had happened. Thanfully the tremors weren't nearly as bad there as they were in LA.
We don't really get earthquakes here in Sydney. There was a bad one in Newcastle in January 1990 though. We do, however experience bushfires fairly often, due in part to seasonal drought when the undergrowth doesn't get moisture, and then there might be high periods of humidity, before really high temperatures and high winds.