Raleigh, N.C. — Hours after issuing a tornado watch for many counties in central North Carolina, the National Weather Service on Thursday morning began rolling back the watch as the storm moved out of the region.

The NWS canceled the tornado watch in Wake, Moore and Cumberland counties by 11 a.m. Watches in Edgecombe, Franklin and Johnston counties remained active.

The threat of strong winds, hail and isolated tornadoes prompted several area school systems to delay the start of classes.

Because of the weather risks during the early-morning hours, when school buses would be on the road, schools in Johnston, Harnett, Wayne and Wilson counties operated on a two-hour delay Thursday.

Edgecombe County schools opened after a three-hour delay Thursday. See the full list of school closings and delays.

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WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said a line of storms that developed in South Carolina early Thursday morning made its way north and east toward the Triangle to meet drivers on their morning commutes into work.

“At 8 a.m., these (storm) cells are sitting right on top of us,” Gardner said. “These cells are moving very fast. There may be some of these that produce some severe weather.

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