The depression strengthened to a tropical storm by the 17th and to a hurricane on the 18th, while moving toward the northwest at 10 to 15 knots. This strengthening occurred even though there was evidence of vertical shearing from an upper-level low located to the northwest. Chris remained a hurricane for almost two days before the strong vertical wind shear significantly disrupted the circular symmetry of the cloud pattern and caused weakening.
The weakening storm turned northward on the 20th and northeastward on the 21st, moving on a trajectory around the western periphery of a persistent subtropical high pressure ridge anchored over the central north Atlantic Ocean. The center passed about 75 n mi east of Bermuda late on the 21st, but maximum winds were only 35 knots at this time and these winds were on the east side of the center. Sustained winds at Bermuda remained below 15 knots.
Accelerating northeastward, Chris strengthened again to 45 knots while staying ahead of a cold front. By the 24th, the storm merged with an extratropical baroclinic zone southeast of Newfoundland and shortly lost its identity.
There were several ship reports which were useful in determining Chris' wind speed:
ship name date/time lat lon wind pressure unknown 17/1200 11.5 42.1 200/45 unknown 17/1500 11.2 42.5 210/58 1001.0 unknown 17/1800 11.5 42.8 210/52 1010.0 Star Eagle 22/1800 37.5 60.5 210/34 1014.0 Adabelle Lykes 22/2100 37.1 58.2 190/40 1017.0