Valentine’s Day of 1978 shouldn’t have been a particularly special one — in fact, for a while it looked like it might end up being one of the worst in history.
That year, early February brought with it the legendary Blizzard of ’78 to Massachusetts. It was, quite literally, a perfect storm: certain meteorological conditions combined to keep the storm off the Atlantic coast for a few days, where it built up force. When it hit, around February 5 of that year, thousands were stranded or worse, having been unprepared for the magnitude of the blizzard. The storm continued for days. Dozens of inches of snow were recorded, along with flooding and high winds.
Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis declared three days of official holiday, to keep people off the road — and, about a week later, he made a similar declaration. Though the storm had finally passed, Valentine’s Day was still disrupted, at great cost to the hearts and wallets of the state — so he decided to act. As TIME reported on the Feb. 27, 1978, issue:
Those four days of Valentine’s celebration are unlikely to be repeated any time soon — but there’s always a chance: Boston’s forecast for Saturday shows a chance of snow.
Read more about love, with TIME’s 2008 cover story about the science of romance, here in the TIME Vault: Why We Need Love to Survive