Scorching heat and medical calls cuts UC Davis graduation short

Dangerously high temperatures gripped parts of California, leading to the cancellation of a graduation ceremony in the northern part of the state. 

UC Davis’ commencement ceremony on Friday was cut midway through after the campus received 36 calls from people requesting medical aid. Most of the requests were for heat-related illness, UC Davis said in a statement.

Seven people were taken to local hospitals.

"Based on health and public safety concerns due to heat and at the urging of the UC Davis Fire Department, Fire Prevention Services, and Environmental Health and Safety, we had to end today’s commencement ceremony early," UC Davis said. "We deeply regret that some students did not get a chance to walk across the stage."

Betty Liao wrote on Facebook that she was there "baking under the sun for hours and saw people taken away on gurneys."

The ceremony was outside, instead of an air-conditioned room, because of COVID. 

The temperature Friday morning in Davis reached the mid-90s and by evening it had topped 100 degrees.

Graduates who didn’t get to walk across the stage Friday can return with their families for a separate ceremony on Sunday, the university said.

Excessive-heat warnings and heat advisories were issued through Saturday for the Central Valley and adjacent regions, interior portions of central coast counties and across the southeastern deserts.

The National Weather Service said many inland areas saw high temperatures Friday in the high 90s to 100 degrees or more. Paso Robles set a record for the day of 106 degrees.

The weather service predicted highs up to 115 degrees in the lower deserts for Saturday.

Most of the California coastal zones remained free of heat advisories.

No red flag warnings were posted but forecasters said some areas will have elevated fire danger.

KTVU meteorologist Rosemary Oroszo said it will start to cool down later on Saturday and into Sunday. 

KTVU contributed to this report.