Heat was an unwanted guest at the Special Olympics Northern California competition Saturday at UC Davis, as officials scrambled to complete events before temperatures blasted into triple digits.
Temperatures in Davis reached the 100-degree mark at 1:55 p.m. Saturday, before topping off at 104 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The 17th annual Special Olympics Northern California event began Friday and will run through today in Davis, where the high temperature on the final day of competition is forecast to reach 105 degrees. Today's events are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., heat permitting.
The heat wave is expected to continue through Friday. In Sacramento, high temperatures Saturday hit 107 degrees at Executive Airport, which broke the record of 106 for June 29 set in 1972, said Karl Swanberg, weather service forecaster. Downtown Sacramento also registered a high of 107 degrees, which tied its record for June 29 set in 1950, he said.
At UC Davis late Saturday morning, Don Drapeau of El Dorado Hills was hiding in the shadow of the bleachers, not far from the track where his daughter was scheduled to compete. The hot weather forced organizers to cancel some events, including an afternoon relay race.
"It's just too hot," said Drapeau, 66.
"This is bad," said his wife, Barbara.
Armed with tents and bottled water, about 200 volunteers and family members tried their best to cope with the heat.
About 700 athletes are competing in a variety of activities including track, swimming, bocce and tennis.
Anna Oleson-Wheeler, event spokeswoman, said organizers were prepared to cancel the games if the heat got out of hand.
Organizers mobilized 75 medical staff and handed out water freely. A few spectators were treated for heat-related illnesses Saturday.
Still, the heat didn't stop Terence Hong, 20, from scoring a gold medal in the 100-meter dash.
"It's good, it's fun," the San Francisco resident said.
Mother Darlene Hong gushed with pride as she discussed how the Special Olympics has become a "second family" for Terence, who is autistic.
"The program has really helped our children develop social skills, sportsmanship and respect," she said.
Across the region, the heat took its toll and kept emergency responders busy.
The Sacramento Fire Department received "quite a number of calls" related to the heat, Assistant Chief Kim Iannucci said. Firefighters assisted with at least a dozen medical transports.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District reported a similar stream of calls starting 10:45 a.m., according to Capt. Bryan Thomson. That's when temperatures reached 93 degrees.
Drew Peterson, a weather service meteorologist, said the current pattern of triple-digit temperatures is similar to a heat wave that struck California in July 2006, killing more than 100 people. That month, Sacramento experienced 11 straight days of triple-digit temperatures.
According to the weather service, the highs forecast for Sacramento this week are 108 today, 109 Monday, 110 Tuesday, 107 Wednesday, 105 Thursday and 101 Friday.
Call The Bee's Richard Chang, (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.