I think, early on, I rejected the notion that just anything could be a 'sign', because Mum was crazy about it. An elder gets stood down, it's a sign, a friend divorces, a JW kid goes off the rails, the weather seems a little warmer this year, it was all a sign, but I always considered it a literal thing - it had to be a literal earthquake or famine. I started thinking about it harder - 'children being disobedient to parents', and decided that 'olden times' are idealised and our grandparents really didn't have as much respect for their parents as they say they do. Famine has been killing entire populations since the ancients turned the middle east into a desert. Earthquakes kill more people now because there are more people. (Okay so I can't explain how 850000 were killed in China five or six hundred years ago). Even when I was in, 9/11 didn't get me worried, I guess the hype didn't really make it big over here.
A week or so after the asian tsunami, as the death toll was being announced in increments of tens of thousands, a friend on her way out said that it was a sign - she'd prayed for guidance in a difficult time of her life and Jehovah sent her this to get her back into the truth. I asked if she really thought Jehovah would kill 250 000 people to prove a point to her. She's fine now.