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State employees to return to work as temperatures rise above freezing in Atlanta after storm

An abandoned car marked with yellow tape is left on Interstate 75/85 south of downtown Atlanta, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Many motorists left their vehicles and proceeded on foot when roads iced over. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

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An abandoned car marked with yellow tape is left on Interstate 75/85 south of downtown Atlanta, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Many motorists left their vehicles and proceeded on foot when roads iced over. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

ATLANTA - Hundreds of drivers were reunited with their abandoned cars and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state employees back to work Friday as the metro Atlanta region rebounded from a winter storm that coated the area with snow and ice.

Many school districts throughout the metro area — including Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton County — announced that they'd remain closed to students Friday, and Deal extended a state of emergency through to Sunday night.

The declaration was extended to allow the state to continue using certain resources to help local governments clear roads and deal with other storm-related issues, Deal said in a statement.

The governor and Director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Charley English, have taken responsibility for poor planning leading up to the storm.

"We did not make preparations early enough," Deal said at a news conference. "I'm not going to look for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me."

Deal added that state agencies would do internal reviews and come up with revised protocols to respond to severe weather forecasts.

Temperatures in the region were expected to reach the low 50s on Friday, which should help officials clear ice accumulations from local roads. Temperatures are expected to remain well above freezing and reach the low 60s Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

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