An explosive storm surpassing the intensity of 2012's Superstorm Sandy is expected to reach Alaska's western Aleutian Islands over the weekend and bring unseasonably frigid temperatures to much of the U.S. next week, weather forecasters said Thursday.

What remains of Typhoon Nuri is moving northeast from off the Japanese coast and is mixing with cold air and the jet stream, which will give it the power to produce hurricane-force winds and waves 15 metres high. It could arrive late Friday or Saturday before weakening in the Bering Sea, the National Weather Service said.

The storm potentially could be one of the most intensive to ever hit the North Pacific, weather service forecaster Brian Hurley said. The Coast Guard and Alaska state emergency responders were keeping a close eye on its strength.

The system is expected to push cold air into much of the lower 48 states next week, forecaster Bob Oravec said. By the weekend, high temperatures in Minneapolis will only reach 4 C, and 9 C is expected in Chicago — several degrees below normal.

Snow also is coming to areas including the northern Rockies and northern Plains.

"It looks like winter's starting early," Oravec said.

While Sandy caused destruction along the urban East Coast, Nuri's target in the north is a sparsely populated region with a few small communities that are accustomed to severe weather.

In fact, 111 km/h wind gusts blew in last week in the western Aleutian town of Adak, a former Naval Air Station east of Nuri's direct route that retains its military appearance. To prepare for the storm, the community's 100 year-round residents were tying down loose items like picnic tables, storage containers and pallets, and parking cars differently so doors won't get blown off, city manager Layton Lockett said.