Oppressive heat continued to blanket the Japanese archipelago Friday as the mercury rose above 35 in some parts of the country during what is normally the height of rainy season, the Meteorological Agency said.

Temperatures hit 37.5 in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, 37.1 in the city of Gifu, and 36 in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, as well as in Kyoto.

It is unusual for a heat wave to hit in July, prompting many people to call the agency to ask if the rainy season had ended early.

A 67-year-old man in Ibaraki Prefecture and a 74-year-old woman in Gunma Prefecture died of heat exhaustion after doing farm work, while a man in his 50s, found collapsed on a street in Osaka, also died apparently due to the heat, police and rescue authorities said.

In the Kanto region, the levels in some water reservoirs have fallen by more than 10 percent since July 1.

The agency said that brown cicadas have been heard earlier than usual in four cities and 13 other locations nationwide due to the sudden streak of hot days.

The extremely hot weather is expected to end this weekend, it said.