The term freshet is most commonly used to describe a spring thaw resulting from snow and ice melt in rivers located in the northern latitudes of North America, particularly Canada. A spring freshet can sometimes last several weeks on large river systems, resulting in significant inundation of flood plains as the snow pack melts in the river's catchment area.
A freshet can also refer to the following:
- A flood resulting from heavy rain or a spring thaw. Whereas heavy rain often causes a flash flood, a spring thaw event is generally a more incremental process, depending upon local climate and topography.
- A stream, river or flood of fresh water which empties into the ocean, usually flowing through an estuary.
- A small stream of fresh water, irrespective of its outflow.
- A pool of fresh water, according to Samuel Johnson and followed in Thomas Sheridan's dictionary, but this might have be an misinterpretation on Johnson's part, and it is at best not a common usage.
- Gieck, Jack (1988). A Photo Album of Ohio's Canal Era, 1825-1913. Kent State University Press. pp. xvii.
- Brown, Lesley (1993). The New shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon. ISBN 0-19-861271-0.
- Bonnier Corporation (1907-01 - 1907-06). Popular Science. Bonnier Corporation. pp. 68–. ISSN 0161-7370. Check date values in:
- Samuel Johnson (1773). A Dictionnary of the English Language. pp. 196–.
- Thomas Sheridan (1789). A Complete Dictionary of the English Language, Both with Regard to Sound and Meaning ...: To which is Prefixed a Prosodial Grammar. C. Dilly. pp. 286–.
- Timothy Dwight (1822). New-England and New-York. pp. 286–.
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