(NBC News) -- While much of the South is digging out from a strong winter snow storm, metropolitan Atlanta, home to more than 5 million people, is still ground to halt.
At the height of the traffic jam abandoned cars and trucks littered the highways and the National Guard had to be called in to help stranded motorists.
Thousands of school students were also stranded overnight and were forced to shelter in place before being reunited with their parents Wednesday.
The governor of Georgia is closing state government Thursday and asking businesses to do the same while crews deal with the roads, and taking heat for how the storm was handled.
"Well if we closed the city of Atlanta and our interstate system based on 'maybes' then we would not be a very productive government or a city," a defensive Governor Nathan Deal said.
-- Chris Clackum, NBC News reports