If we define worst in terms of human lives lost, the worst natural disaster in modern times was a magnitude 8 earthquake in China in 1976. Death toll estimates range between 255,000 and 655,000. In terms of property damage hurricane Katrina reached about $30 billion (insurance company estimates) making it the most costly natural disaster to ever hit the United States. Check out the link below for short descriptions of the 10 “worst” natural disasters.
The list in the other answer’s reference omits the floods in China in August 1931 that killed from 1,000,000 to 4,000,000 people. The Shaanxi earthquake of 1556 killed more than 800,000 people. If by “worst” the questioner means deaths, then in the US it was probably the Galveston hurricane of 1900, which killed 5000 or more people.
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