Things got scary Sunday in parts of South Georgia.

The National Weather Service was providing real-time information as a tornado ripped through Cook County.

Fortunately, there was no loss of life.

As a public service, we want to remind our readers about how dangerous the weather can be in our region this time of year, and — more importantly — remind you of the difference between a watch and a warning.

Essentially, a watch means that conditions are right for severe weather.

A warning means the severe weather is happening, now.

More specifically here is exactly what the National Weather Service says:

Tornado Watch: Be prepared. Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives. Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.

Tornado Warning: Take action. A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by your local forecast office. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a tornado identified by a forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.

Don’t be confused.

When you hear the word “warning” take cover. You and your family are in danger.

We have so many severe weather watches and warnings here it is easy to get complacent. But remember that unlike most other natural disasters, a tornado just takes seconds to hit and it is the most violent of weather events, often leaving death and destruction in its wake.

We want to do our part to help keep you safe.

If you have not already, sign up for our free — that’s right, free with no strings attached — text alerts.

It is easy and simple to sign up and once you do so you can select what kinds of things you want to be alerted about on your cellphone or other device. Of course, we want you to absolutely sign up for weather alerts but you can also get other breaking news, including free access to our coverage of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

You do not have to be a subscriber. Here is how you do it: (1) go to our website at valdostadailytimes.com and select the Text Alerts button located on the homepage and you will find an easy, quick form to complete; or (2) paste the line: http://bit.ly/1j03sZ3 in your browser and follow the instructions.

Please stay safe and pay very close attention to all watches and warnings.

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